The Arkansas State Board of Education voted unanimously on Thursday (July 7) to lift all restrictions on the Little Rock School Board and to remove the district from the state’s level 5 intensive support category, a move that amounts to the long awaited return of the Little Rock School District to full local control.
State officials took over the LRSD in 2015 when six of its schools were found to be in academic distress.
LRSD Superintendent Mike Poore said the vote is a tribute to the district’s staff and to the community, which he says never gave up on the district.
“What a tribute to the Little Rock School District staff and community that we are being recognized for doing the right work and doing it well,” Poore said.
The LRSD is now in the level 4 support category. Local officials will be required to provide quarterly reports to the state for one year, but Arkansas Secretary of Education Johnny Key insists it is not an avenue that will lead back to state control.
“It is not a precursor to level 5, or a ‘just in case we need to take over again.’ Nothing like that. It is simply to maintain that collaborative work between the Department (of Education) and the district and the elected school board so that a feedback loop is formalized and in place,” Key said.
Poore and Little Rock city leaders have planned a news conference Friday morning to further discuss the development.
Editor’s note: Content partner KATV staff contributed to this report.