Little Rock panel OKs more community schools

Plan for millage vote put on track

FILE — Little Rock School District headquarters are shown in this 2019 file photo.

The Little Rock School Board voted to expand the number of community schools from four to six contingent upon the receipt of a $1 million grant that would enable Mabelvale Elementary and Middle schools to become part of that program.

During a more than four-hour meeting Thursday night, the nine-member board also voted to begin to form a plan to present to voters in November for a millage extension. That plan would include feedback from teachers, administrators and community members.

The plan would identify the greatest needs for funding in the district and outline to voters how the money would be spent if they approved the millage extension.

The Little Rock School District will move forward with a task force for community schools and for creation of a memorandum of understanding between the district and Little Rock that would detail the responsibilities of the parties involved.

Chicot, Watson, Washington and Stephens elementaries are the district's designated community schools.

The community-school model, used in cities across the country, is one in which a network of partnerships is formed to provide services that meet the needs of students and their families -- such as after-school care, food pantries, health services and job training -- as a way to promote student success.

The timeline for when the grant money might be received was not outlined. It would come from an outside agency for two years while funding for a third year would come from other federal funding sources.