Sen. Joyce Elliott urges NO vote on Little Rock school tax | Arkansas Blog

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sen. Joyce Elliott urges NO vote on Little Rock school tax

Posted By on Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 7:44 AM

click to enlarge jamesotis1.jpg

Sen, Joyce Elliott
of Little Rock, a public school champion, has posted a message on Facebook urging a NO vote on the Little Rock School District tax election May 9. She says to do otherwise is to endorse taxation without representation and give in to  "tyranny."

I understand her point of view. Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key controls the Little Rock School District and he's taken action repeatedly — notably by public positions in the recent legislative session — detrimental to the good of the Little Rock School District. Efforts by Elliott and others to level the playing field between Little Rock and charter schools were opposed by Key,  He's shown no desire for flexibility in the arbitrary standard by which Little Rock was taken over, making clear that even a single school below "proficiency" as measured by a standardized test that has been changed repeatedly is enough to keep the district in his hands. It matters not that one of the three lagging schools (among 48) has a huge number of special ed and non-English-speaking students who are judged on a test administered in English.

Here's what Senator Elliott posted on Facebook (along with the image above):

There is No defensible reason for the Little Rock School District to be under state control. It is because some rich and/or powerful want it to be, starting with the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, for example, though it is not alone. You see, it is easier to have their way with folks who stand before the powerful naked of their Constitiutional rights. Democracy is just too messy. Dictate instead.

Just as the State Board of Education held the Pulaski County Special School in its grip long after it was Not in fiscal distress, it is doing the same for the LRSD, which is "in academic distress" only because the Board declares it so, not because the facts say so.
In both cases, the ease of doing as the powerful wishes ruled the day. In PCSSD, the district was held onto until the Jacksonville School District was created with no fuss from that fussy public. In LRSD, it's to reorganize, close schools and tax without representation to do whatever the hell the powerful deems it wishes to do with $600M dollars over the next 14 year, which is especially important with the upcoming 60th Anniversary of the Central High Crisis. You see media from everywhere will be in town. We've gotta fix those windows. And don't forget, that's millions for more charter schools.

This hurry up tax vote Without representation is an okeydoke for which you should not fall. Demand the time to do it right. Release state control. Elect a school board. Put together a public-guided plan for our schools. Then have a millage vote. Otherwise, it's just as Jame Otis taught us.

On May 9th and during early voting, Do Not give up your right to representation by giving in to Tyranny. Vote Against the tax and insist on Your citizenship rights.
Senator Elliott represents a significant portion of the Little Rock School District, particularly that portion that supplies a large number of the poor and minority students who constitute the majority of the school district (whose boundaries do not match those of the city,  particularly the prosperous western reaches.)  She'll carry somewhat more credibility with voters, I think, than the white business establishment voices, many of whom never sent children to public schools, who led the state takeover and now are asking for authorization to give Johnny Key an additional $600 million over 14 years by refinancing existing construction millage taxes (the majority of which is spent not on buildings but operations, despite what you might be told.)

On top of everything else, Key refuses to meet and take questions from the public about the district he runs, deferring to the man he appointed as superintendent after firing Baker Kurrus for opposing runaway charter school expansion.

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