Two Little Rock board members voted against a resolution Tuesday that asks the city's school district and the state commissioner of education to conduct an impact study before closing schools.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported that City Director Joan Adcock was the sole city board member to vote "No" after a voice vote at Tuesday's meeting in which Adcock was the only audible dissenter.
On Wednesday, City Director Dean Kumpuris said he also voted "No."
A video recording of the meeting doesn't pick up city directors' voices during the vote because their microphones weren't turned on. In the video, Kumpuris doesn't appear to voice a "No," when the vote is first taken.
The resolution was on the board's consent agenda, which was voted on in a block with one vote. To vote "No," a city director would have had to announce that he was supportive of all the consent items except for the resolution. Adcock did that. Kumpuris did not.
He didn't speak up publicly during the meeting when there was discussion about who voted "No" or when the mayor stated that Adcock was the only dissenter.
Asked why he didn't correct that, Kumpuris said he thought he had because he raised his finger and got a nod from City Clerk Susan Langley that she knew he voted against the proposal.
After the voice vote, City Director Erma Hendrix asked for a roll call vote, but Mayor Mark Stodola said it wasn't needed because he didn't hear any dissenting votes. When members corrected him, he asked, "One nay?"
Langley said, "Yes," and explained that Adcock voted against the resolution but for the other items.
The video of the meeting then shows Kumpuris raising his left hand and sticking a finger up. He waves it to get Langley's attention, mouths something and then holds up six fingers.
Langley said Wednesday that she noted that and let the record show Kumpuris joined Adcock in voting against the resolution. Kumpuris never voiced his vote out loud at the meeting.
With Kumpuris' vote changed, the vote on the resolution was 7-2 in favor. One board member was absent.
Reached by phone Wednesday, City Director Gene Fortson said he also was against the resolution, but that he didn't try to have his vote changed to "No."
He said he didn't bother to speak up because he could tell from the voice vote that the majority of the board wanted to pass the resolution.
The resolution signaled the city board's support of neighborhood activists' requests for the state and Little Rock School District to study the impact on students and the community before closing three schools.
State Education Commissioner Johnny Key had announced that his decision to approve the closings was final, and that he and the school district wouldn't pay for an impact study.
Kumpuris said Wednesday that he voted against the resolution because the issue was "water under the bridge."
"We need to work on making a positive contribution to schools. We need to figure out how to do that rather than try to undo something that's not undoable. They've pretty well said what they are going to do," Kumpuris said.
Fortson and Adcock said they weren't in favor of the resolution because the issue was moot and Key already had made his decision.
Adcock, Kumpuris and Fortson are the board's three at-large city directors, who are elected by voters citywide. The other board members represent the seven wards and are elected by residents in their zones.
Metro on 03/23/2017
Print Headline: Official vote by LR's board 7-2 on school-closings study