by Max Brantley
The letter said: "To close a polling site with little public notice, especially at this late hour, is acting in bad faith with the public. It appears to be an attempt to suppress early voting in majority black neighborhoods." The letter gave officials until Friday to reply.The map above shows the boundaries of the Little Rock School District, which is far smaller than the city as a whole. A red dot locates the McMath Library. City Director Lance Hines showed his general anti-LRSD sentiments in comments on Twitter this week, responding to complaints about the loss of the polling place by saying he thought it was vote suppression not to have polls west of Interstate 430 and north of Interstate 630. Hines lives outside the LRSD in the Pulaski County Special School District in western Little Rock, for one thing. For another, he and others who supported the state takeover of LRSD and support the continued explosion of damaging charter schools in the city tend to misrepresent just how little of the district, as a percentage of territory, lies west of Interstate 430. The McMath Library, in the western end of the district, is just a few blocks south of I-630, easily accessible from exits to John Barrow Road.
We call on you to re-open the early voting location at McMath Library and commit to opening several others as well. Early voting sites in small turnout elections in Little Rock are traditionally open at McMath Library, Dee Brown Library, and Williams Library. The cost to run these locations is minimal. Please reply to our request by Friday, April 14th. Time is of the essence.
The May 9 millage measure is a $600 million bank heist that will permit Key to funnel millions of tax dollars paid by LRSD property owners to charter school management companies supported by Walton Family Foundation and other charter school champions. This has already happened in New Orleans and other places.The state Board of Education meets today, by the way. An item on the agenda concerns the Little Rock School District. Member Jay Barth had hoped to call for a vote on returning the Little Rock School District in a 2018 election. Gov. Asa Hutchinson told Key he doesn't support a vote to return to local control. So there's not likely to be a vote today. It would be pointless since Hutchinson appointed the majority of the state Board. Key and the governor DO want the $600 million, however.
The May 9 millage ballot must be defeated if we hope to preserve any sensible notion of public education in the LRSD. If the charter school lobby can control the Arkansas Board of Education and Education Commissioner (as it apparently does), and if Commissioner Johnny Key can control how public education is provided in the LRSD (as he does), then the only issue left is how charter school operators can acquire buildings and operating revenue to operate.