by Max Brantley
"With all due respect, I'm tired of hearing about the Little Rock School District. I've had it, OK?The resolution has so little meaning that it will be easy for those on the city board with enmity toward the School District to go along for show. They can read election results, too.
Based on your article today, you continue to have a very selective memory when it comes to City Hall and me specifically. You always choose to ignore several previous opportunities I have taken to speak out about our public schools. You conveniently ignore (I assume so you can influence your readers) the very public position I took on the termination of Baker Kurrus, including a letter, as reported in the newspaper, to the Governor requesting a reversal of the decision. I had met with Baker multiple times and agreed with him on his position concerning charter schools. You also ignore the public comments I have made that there are too many charter schools underperforming and that some of them should have their charters revoked; and you continue to ignore the fact that I testified before the legislature against SB 308 (Act542) which is designed to allow charter schools to acquire underutilized public school buildings. Again, all reported in the newspaper. Your virulent obsession about the Chamber clouds all objective judgment on your part.
We are damned if we do speak out and damned if we don’t from your catbird seat. I continue to believe that one of the major differences between the pro and anti millage supporters was one of timing. I believe all sides want improved facilities for our children. People that both you and I respect wound up on both sides of the issue. I understand and appreciate the no representation argument, but realized the local control decision is not one the Mayor or the City Board can control. I was of the belief, and still am, that a return to local control would have happened sooner had we passed the school millage proposal hence the timing of bringing this resolution forward. The pending resolution proposed might have even more impact had the millage passed. But just because the millage issue didn’t pass, is no excuse for not taking a position. Continuing with tired old buildings and 50 portable classrooms only makes it easier for people to move to surrounding cities who have invested in their school infrastructure. 10 charter school applications, some with major out of state experience, are pending at the Charter Review Committee right now. You are right about one thing, the City nor the mayor have any power or control over the Board of Education. Many of the comments directed to city leaders should appropriately be directed to the people who can do something about it, the Board of Education and the Governor’s office. The reason for passing a Resolution now is because it is my understanding the Board of Education will be meeting next month to discuss the implementation of Act 930 which provides several options for a return to local control. Let’s hope something is adopted that we can look forward to. Looking forward to your update.