School tonight -- UPDATE II | Arkansas Blog

School tonight -- UPDATE II

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The Little Rock School Board meets tonight in special meeting. Presumably an interim superintendent will be chosen. Whether I stay up to wait for the anticipated selection of Linda Watson remains to be seen.

Please send in a report if you're watching and we're not.

UPDATE: The interviews lasted until 8:24 p.m., when the went into executive session to consider the candidates. The interviews were in public, a good thing. All four acquitted themselves well -- an earnest young lawyer, Robert Holitik; a confident retired administrator, Mary Jane Cheatham; a passionate assistant middle schoool principal, Steven Wise; and current district administrator Dr. Linda Watson

Watson, the presumed front-runner, carefully handled a question about the controversial mediation of the final stages of the federal court desegregation case. The district should be committed to the things it promised to be declared unitary, but whether there is mediation or not is up to someone else to decide, she essentially said. On another ticklish point -- a new school for western Little Rock -- she said there was clearly a need for a new elementary school, but the need for extending the school through grade 8 remains to be studied further. She offered a flurry of figures that suggested she'd studied the issue closely. Board member Baker Kurrus, who's been a driving force for the school, seemed impressed by the homework.

UPDATE II: After an executive session of less than 30 minutes, the Board emerged and voted 6-0, on Kurrus' motion, to hire Watson as interim. Board member Melanie Fox had to leave before the vote was taken. Details remain to be worked out on terms and, presumably, the transition with Dr. Roy Brooks, who remains superintendent in title through almost the end of August. A lawsuit pends attempting to scuttle the Board buyout of his contract. Watson, who has a doctorate in education from UA, has been a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent, among other positions.

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