Lawsuit challenges Arkansas takeover of Little Rock schools

March 31, 2020 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A second lawsuit was filed Tuesday challenging Arkansas’ ongoing control of the Little Rock school district and the limits the state has placed on the incoming local school board.

Five parents and grandparents from the district asked a Pulaski County judge to release the schools from state control. Arkansas took over the 23,000-student district and dissolved its local school board in 2015 over lagging test scores at several schools.

The state Board of Education has voted to put the district under the control of a local board that will be elected in November. But the state board will maintain some authority, including a prohibition on the district restoring collective bargaining rights to its teachers.

ADVERTISEMENT

The lawsuit is similar to another one filed last week challenging the limits the state has placed on the local board. The lawsuit filed Tuesday argues the state has gone beyond the five-year limit by law to return the district to local control.

The Department of Education said it believed both lawsuits were based on “flawed arguments,” and was working with the governor and attorney general’s offices to develop a plan of action in response.