The State of Little Rock School District

The Arkansas Constitution, Article 14 states: “Intelligence and virtue being the safeguards of liberty and the bulwark of a free and good government, the State shall ever maintain a general, suitable and efficient system of free public schools and shall adopt all suitable means to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education.”

  • Three of five high, and three of six middle schools are in Academic Distress
  • In 171 opportunities over past ten years, Academic Distress schools only performed above 50% of students proficient in Math or Literacy twice
  • Sixteen of 44 LRSD schools (36%; 4 of 5 high schools, 4 of 6 middle schools, 8 of 32 elementary schools) are among lowest performing 122 schools in Arkansas (bottom 11%)
  • Of 255 public school districts and charters in Arkansas, LRSD is:
  • 226th – Benchmark Math (59% Proficient or Advanced in Elementary, Middle Schools)
  • 227th – Benchmark Literacy (65% Proficient or Advanced in Elementary, Middle Schools)
  • 198th – End of Course Algebra (59% Proficient or Advanced in High School)
  • 196th – End of Course Geometry (54% Proficient or Advanced in High School)
  • 180th – End of Course Literacy (62% Proficient or Advanced in High School)
  • 194th – End of Course Biology (28% Proficient or Advanced in High School)
  • LRSD has had 22 Superintendents (including interim) in 33 years
  • Since 2006, LRSD board has replaced four superintendents, all African-American
  • In 2010 superintendent search, despite heavy community engagement, the board only brought in one candidate for interview, but chose to hire Dr. Morris Holmes as interim superintendent. In 2013, board chose to use same search firm from the previously unsuccessful search
  • In past nine years, LRSD board has averaged 1.44 new members every year. Current board members averaged 277 votes each in latest races, for 1,936 total votes
  • 2014 – Two of Seven (Springer 485 Votes, Ross 379 Votes)
  • 2013 – Two of Seven (McAdoo 383 Votes, Shephard 249 Votes)
  • 2012 – Two of Seven (Peterson 260 Votes, Unopposed Fisken 70 Votes, Branch Appointed Upon Peterson’s Death)
  • 2011 – One of Seven (Johnson 254 Votes)
  • 2010 – Two of Seven (Nellums 371 Votes, Unopposed Adams 57 Votes)
  • 2009 – Zero of Seven
  • 2008 – One of Seven (Carreiro 481 Votes)
  • 2007 – One of Seven (Daugherty 811 Votes)
  • 2006 – Two of Seven (Fox 1,811 Votes, Armstrong 236 Votes)

NOTE: Diane Curry (Zone 6) was first elected in 2003 with 221 Votes. She was re-elected with 334 votes in 2012, along with Greg Adams (Zone 4) who has been unopposed in both of his races, receiving 57 and 36 votes, respectively.

  • In past 17 years, LRSD has had 50% personnel increase (2,600 to 3,900), while enrollment has been flat or declining
    Source: Dr. Dexter Suggs
  • In past twenty years, LRSD board has dismissed/fired one teacher for poor performance
    Source: Dr. Dexter Suggs
  • Highest percentage of Hispanic students in LRSD attend Baseline Elementary (49%), Cloverdale Middle (21%), Hall High (19%), all in Academic Distress
  • Biggest loss of LRSD students is between the fifth and sixth grades
    Source: Little Rock School District
  • 24.4% (446 of 1,824) of 2013-14 fifth graders are not in District as 2014-15 sixth graders
  • At LRSD’s largest elementary school (Roberts), 71% (89 of 117) are not in the District as sixth graders (2014-15)
  • The annual loss of State Foundation Funding in the LRSD from fifth to sixth grade alone is $2,854,400
  • In past ten years, LRSD enrollment declined from 24,424 (2004-05) to 23,676 (2013-14)
  • LRSD – 24,880*
    *737 students are magnet transfers from other districts. 196 are majority-to-minority transfers from other districts.
  • Open-enrollment Public Charter Schools – 3,385
  • Home Schools – 566
  • Private Schools (only ten largest reported) – 7,728
  • School Choice Transfers to Other Districts – 63
  • Academic Distress Transfers to Other Districts – 48
  • Because of enrollment caps, over 5,600 students are on wait lists of two largest open-enrollment public charter schools in the LRSD footprint, eStem Public Charter Schools and Lisa Academy – West. Both schools, like 8 of 9 charter school campuses in LRSD footprint, are majority minority schools.
  • In March 2010, a year-long community/district-led commission, facilitated by Dr. Lawrence Cohen, Allan Odden, and Lawrence O. Picus, created and released Boosting Student Performance and Closing the Achievement Gap: A Strategic Plan for the Little Rock School District. Strategic Planning Commissioners were:
  • Jim Argue and Terence Bolden, Co-Chairmen
  • H. Baker Kurrus, Board Representative
  • Ken Richardson, City Board of Directors & New Futures for Youth
  • Joel Anderson, Chancellor, UALR
  • Walter Kimbrough, President, Philander Smith College
  • John Walker, Attorney, Joshua Intervenors
  • Jay Chesshir, Director, Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce
  • Patty Barker, President, Little Rock Parent Teachers Association
  • Senator Joyce Elliott, Legislative Representative
  • Cathy Koehler, President, Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association
  • Bishop Steven Arnold, St. Mark Baptist Church
  • Andre Guerrero, Arkansas Department of Education
  • Wayne Burt, Parent / Community Representative

Targeted for 2015, through five school boards, the plan has yet to be implemented.

“…the State shall ever maintain a general, suitable and efficient system of free public schools and shall adopt all suitable means to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education.”

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LRSD Academic Distress Begins, Ends with Student Pipeline