A notice has been sent that the Little Rock School Board, which has a regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. today, will have a special meeting at 5 p.m. to "consider" Superintendent Roy Brooks' employment. Currently, the board has a May 30 hearing scheduled on a four-member Board majority's recommendation that he be fired.
The special board meeting could mean that the board will consider buying out the 25 months remaining on Brooks' contract. That would cost, with perks and annuity payments, somewhere in the range of $500,000. A buyout would not appear to be subject to challenge by Brooks, something that Judge G. Thomas Eisele noted during hearings on a lawsuit by Brooks seeking to have two board members disqualified from voting on his firing. Brooks could claim no monetary damages if he's bought out. His contract provides for unilateral action by the board for a buyout.
The board's rules allow for a special board meeting to be called with reasonable notice to board members and two hours' notice to the public.They may vote only on matters included in the call for the meeting.
A board vote for a buyout would be humane treatment of Brooks, who has strong supporters on the board, if among a minority of members. It would be a clean break. It would end the need for a divisive hearing. It would avoid further expensive litigation. It would be the beginning of a new era, perhaps one that could produce more consensus than the Brooks era produced.