A plan to aid Little Rock’s school district
We have a suggestion for the future of Little Rock School District (LRSD): Put Mayor Frank Scott Jr. in charge.
LRSD has been under state control since 2015 when it was taken over because of several schools' persistently low student achievement, and now many Little Rock residents and community leaders are vigorously insisting the district be returned to local control. Student achievement, however, has not improved to the level required by Arkansas Department of Education rules for local control to be restored.
Absent a return to local control, current law requires the state Board of Education to either annex, consolidate or reconstitute a public school district within five years of takeover, a deadline that is looming this January for LRSD. Due to the district's size and location, annexation or consolidation aren't viable solutions, while reconstitution is left undefined in the law.
Sarah McKenzie is executive director of the Office for Education Policy (OEP) at the University of Arkansas.