Little Rock Mayor releases statement on school board elections

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. issued the following statement late Thursday night regarding the Little Rock School District:

“One of the key tenets of our local control proposal to the State Board of Education was November 2020 school board elections. On Oct. 10th the Board voted to return the Little Rock School District (LRSD) to local control and hold school board elections during the November general election. Since then, I have received many questions from the community about why the election couldn’t be held sooner. After research of Arkansas law regarding school board elections, I’d like to provide details about the process of setting and holding school board elections.”

Q. Couldn’t the state have set a special election?

A. The state allows elections for school board during primary or general elections, and only allows special elections concerning the tax rate or debt issues.

Q. Why didn’t the state call for the election to be held during the March primary?

A. Having an election in March would have required public notice of a March 3, 2020 election in July 2019, and candidates would have been required to turn in petitions with voter signatures and file papers to run November 4-November 12.

Q. Will the 2020 school board elections return local control?

A. Yes, the residents of Little Rock will have the opportunity to elect their school board members. However, as long as the LRSD is considered a level 5 district, needing intensive support, state law permits oversight by the Arkansas Department of Education. That is why it is imperative we create the Community Schools Model to increase students’ academic performance at our most challenged schools.

“I highly recommend that Little Rock residents who want a fuller explanation of the law to contact their state legislators. And continuing in the spirit of full transparency, the ADE will provide a timeline of the elections process, taking us from November of this year through elections next year. I look forward to continuing to work on behalf Little Rock residents to move the Little Rock School District back to full and local control.”

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