by Max Brantley
Little Rock School District Attorney Chris Heller will take a new proposal to the School Board tonight about ending the desegregation settlement agreement with the state. He says he believes other school districts and intervenors would be agreeable to proceeding on the basis he's outlined, though he calls it the Little Rock proposal for now.
The district's would seek unitary status to get out of court. Then, it provides a seven-year phaseout of aid, which if it started at the current $70 million a year for the three districts in Pulaski County would drop to no less than $63 million at the end. Heller says it would save the state $133 million, against a 5 percent annual increases in state support. It still includes a state recognition that the creation of additional open enrollment charter schools would negatively affect the three Pulaski County districts, unless the local school boards found otherwise.
I'm guessing that it won't soften state resistance much, but it is a negotiation.
BY THE WAY: Jake da Snake contributed some useful insight on the earlier item today on LRSD, for those who like to get into the nitty gritty of the numbers.
HELLER NOTE TO SUPERINTENDENT ACCOMPANYING THE PROPOSAL
Here is a draft proposal which I will review with the board tonight during the legal update. As a result of my meetings with lawyers for joshua, knight, nlrsd and pcssd, there are some minor changes from the last draft you reviewed. I believe that all parties would participate in negotations with the state based on this proposal, but for now I'm calling it lrsd's proposal. The changes from the last draft can be summarized as follows: I removed paragraphs 7 and 8 pending further discussions with john about the terms of joshua's participation in the settlement agreement; I slightly changed paragraphs 3 and 10 (which is now para 8) for clarity; I rewrote paragraph 6 to allow interdistrict movement of students in pulaski county without what could be confusing references to the current choice law; I added the last phrase to paragraph 15 (now para 13) to address a concern raised by the knight intervenors; and I eliminated paragraph 18 (title to busses) as a further concession to the state. If the board does not express any objections to this proposal, I will send it to the attorney general's office tomorrow and attempt to continue negotiations with all parties in accordance with my previous instructions from the board. Please call if you have any questions. Thanks. Ch