by Max Brantley
There is No defensible reason for the Little Rock School District to be under state control. It is because some rich and/or powerful want it to be, starting with the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, for example, though it is not alone. You see, it is easier to have their way with folks who stand before the powerful naked of their Constitiutional rights. Democracy is just too messy. Dictate instead.Senator Elliott represents a significant portion of the Little Rock School District, particularly that portion that supplies a large number of the poor and minority students who constitute the majority of the school district (whose boundaries do not match those of the city, particularly the prosperous western reaches.) She'll carry somewhat more credibility with voters, I think, than the white business establishment voices, many of whom never sent children to public schools, who led the state takeover and now are asking for authorization to give Johnny Key an additional $600 million over 14 years by refinancing existing construction millage taxes (the majority of which is spent not on buildings but operations, despite what you might be told.)
Just as the State Board of Education held the Pulaski County Special School in its grip long after it was Not in fiscal distress, it is doing the same for the LRSD, which is "in academic distress" only because the Board declares it so, not because the facts say so.
In both cases, the ease of doing as the powerful wishes ruled the day. In PCSSD, the district was held onto until the Jacksonville School District was created with no fuss from that fussy public. In LRSD, it's to reorganize, close schools and tax without representation to do whatever the hell the powerful deems it wishes to do with $600M dollars over the next 14 year, which is especially important with the upcoming 60th Anniversary of the Central High Crisis. You see media from everywhere will be in town. We've gotta fix those windows. And don't forget, that's millions for more charter schools.
This hurry up tax vote Without representation is an okeydoke for which you should not fall. Demand the time to do it right. Release state control. Elect a school board. Put together a public-guided plan for our schools. Then have a millage vote. Otherwise, it's just as Jame Otis taught us.
On May 9th and during early voting, Do Not give up your right to representation by giving in to Tyranny. Vote Against the tax and insist on Your citizenship rights.