One need only look to voter turnout in two hotly contested races in the largest school district in Arkansas to be reminded of the inanity of September School Elections.
With the results still unofficial, in Zone 6, without an incumbent, Michael (Pete) Peterson defeated Laveta Wills-Hale 260 to 172. That’s 432 total votes, meaning it only took 217 to win the election.
In Zone 7, incumbent Dianne Curry received 217 votes to Tanya Dixon’s 193. Ms. Curry, who is two votes away from an outright victory, will avoid a runoff if the 13 Outstanding Military and Overseas ballots are returned in her majority favor. At present, 435 votes were cast in Zone 7. If a run-off is required, it too will be held by itself.
The only candidate not supported by Representative John Walker or the Little Rock Education Association was the spoiler in Zone 7 – Frances Johnson, a bilingual mother of three honors students who, because of work and personal commitments, was unable to mount a traditional campaign.
Mr. Walker backed Wills-Hale and Dixon, while the LREA supported Peterson and Curry.
Leslie Fisken, who ran unopposed in Zone 3, managed 70 votes.
Legislators around the state and their respective superintendents who prefer these insider elections just the way the are, should stop complaining about Little Rock’s dysfunction and drain on the state’s coffers. This is what happens when parents, employers, and property tax paying citizens are, by design, disenfranchised from the governance of their public schools.
867 votes have decided how Little Rock will spend state funding and challenge the State of Arkansas in court. In other words, we continue to get what everybody’s paying for.