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Governor, education secretary say modifications to Little Rock schools plan not out of the question

by Cynthia Howell | October 8, 2019 at 4:14 p.m.
FILE — Little Rock School District headquarters are shown in this 2019 file photo.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Education Secretary Johnny Key on Tuesday suggested that modifications to a previously approved framework plan for governing the Little Rock School District are not out of the question.

That could include discussion of Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.'s proposal on Monday to return the state-controlled Little Rock district in its entirety to an appointed transition board -- made up of community and state Education Board appointees -- that would oversee the district until school board elections are held in November 2020. F-rated schools would become "community schools" operated by the district under a memorandum of understanding with the Arkansas Department of Education and city.

"I appreciate Mayor Scott’s proposal and thoughtful approach to a very difficult issue," Key said in a statement released by his agency on Tuesday.

"This is the kind of input the State Board members hoped to receive when they asked for community feedback on the next steps for LRSD. I am open to having conversations with the State Board about the proposal to find areas of agreement while balancing the responsibility of the state."

The Arkansas Board of Education will hold its regular monthly meeting Thursday and Friday. The Thursday afternoon agenda includes the application of the framework plan that the Education Board approved last month -- including the grouping of the district's 40 schools into categories based on newly released A to F letter grades.

Earlier Tuesday, Hutchinson noted that the preliminary 2019 letter grades been released for the Little Rock schools since the Education Board approved the framework plan that calls for F-graded, Category 3 schools, to operate under different leadership than the other schools in the district but in partnership with the district.

"So I know that they’ll be taking a look at that again this week and, with more information on the table, we’ll see if there are any changes that are made in that framework and in response to the mayor’s comments yesterday as well," Hutchinson said.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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