By Steve Brawner
The Little Rock School District could have a school board election so it can be returned to local control as early as May but more likely in November, Education Commissioner Johnny Key said Wednesday.
During a question and answer session at the Clinton School of Public Service, Key was asked by Dean Skip Rutherford to name the earliest possible date the LRSD could be released from state control.
Key said the Department of Education is studying the LRSD’s academics, finances, facilities, “human capital managing system,” and student services to see what support might be needed from the department and other entities. That study should be finished by November and would give the department a more complete picture of the district’s standing.
“I think if I was to surmise an earliest date of an election legally, I think … either May or November is when a school board election would take place,” Key said. “I don’t know (if the department) would be ready by May. I think possibly November could be an early window but it depends on what we find and then what the State Board determines from that survey, that study that we do.
“I don’t see it stretching the full five years. Five years was the limit. Pulaski County School District went the full five years before they were returned. Helena-West Helena went the full five years before they were returned. So probably somewhere in that year four is what we’d be looking at, in year three or year four.”
The State Board of Education voted to take over the district Jan. 28, 2015. Earlier this year, the Legislature moved school board elections from September to either May or November, with districts given the choice of which date.
Key said the announcement of an election would be made in enough time to give candidates to file and run for election.