...When the Little Rock School Board holds its regularly monthly agenda meeting at 5 p.m. today. Board President Katherine Mitchell and Vice President Charles Armstrong are out of town at a National School Boards Association convention, so Secretary Melanie Fox will be in charge. (Agenda meetings don't typically involve votes -- they're usually simply a discussion of what will be on the agenda at the regular monthly board meeting two weeks later.) She said she'll raise again the proposal she made at Wednesday night's meeting to bring in Ron Lanoue, former executive director of the National Council of Christians and Jews (now the National Conference for Community and Justice), to help rebuild relationships and communication among board members.
Also on the agenda: The proposed site of the planned new WLR elementary/middle school. District officials want board permission to begin looking at a 17-acre parcel at Highway 10 and Taylor Loop West because they've determined it'll be much more expensive to build on the hilly 75-acre Rahling Road site than they'd anticipated. The Taylor Loop West property is a lot smaller and a lot more expensive -- $283,000 per acre compared with about $43,000 per acre on Rahling Road. But district spokesman Joe Mittiga said that because it's flat, the reduced cost of developing and building on the Taylor Loop West site -- and the smaller number of acres -- should more than make up for the higher per-acre cost. As for the difference in size, Mittiga said most of the Rahling Road site would have been left undeveloped anyway because it's so sloped.
There is one possibly controversial matter to be discussed, given the general obsession with high school athletics in Arkansas: District athletic officials want to raise the ticket price for middle school and high school sporting events. Current prices, unchanged since 2001, are $5 for adults/$3 for students for high school games, and $3 for adults/$2 for students for middle school games. The proposed increase would raise the prices to $5 for everyone at high school events and $4 for everyone at middle school events, and would raise an estimated $60,000 more per year for athletic activities, Mittiga said.