Speaking of division | Arkansas Blog

Speaking of division

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The Little Rock School Board meets tonight. Board president Katherine Mitchell says the board will go into closed session to review a letter prepared by lawyers listing reasons why a four-member majority of the board believes Superintendent Roy Brooks should be fired. She said all board members also will be provided with documentation. She said the list will include new items not discussed previously in unofficial partial lists of grievances against Brooks.

It will be up to Brooks to decide whether to release the letter and whether to hold a subsequent hearing before a neutral fact-finder in public.

Mitchell said the board may discuss a proposal by Board member Melanie Fox to bring in a facilitator to improve board communications. But she said there likely won't be a vote -- or at least a positive vote -- tonight. She said three board members weren't present at the agenda meeting when the item was added and that she preferred that the board get past the Brooks matter first.

There also is to be a discussion of a new site for a West Little Rock school. Mitchell said she knows of no opposition to a new elementary school in that part of the city. But she said it was her understanding that the school was meant to be an elementary school -- pre-K through five -- and that she opposed adding middle school grades (through grade 8), as she says Brooks has proposed.

I asked Mitchell why not simply buy out Brooks' contract, rather than fire him. "I prefer not to give him money he doesn't deserve," she said. She said he still exhibited "total disrespect" to some board members and some members of the community and had continued to unilaterally take action without board review, including on administrative pay decisions. "He's had an opportunity to change his behavior, but he has not," she said.

I'm calling on blog readers to provide a report on tonight's meeting. I have a conflict tonight and Jennifer Reed is on vacation.  It sounds like the only issue is how much division will be on colorful public display for the New York Times reporter who'll be on hand to take notes for his 50-years-after story on the LRSD.

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