The three interconnected charter schools going into the former Arkansas Gazette building this fall will get a substantial financial boost from a privately funded, as-yet-unnamed “charter management organization” — directed by former Little Rock School District superintendent Roy Brooks — that will provide support services like teacher and student recruitment and payroll for all three schools.
That's the word from soon-to-be-former LRSD spokesman Joe Mittiga, who'll be leaving the district effective Jan. 18 to go to work for Brooks. Mittiga referred questions about where the organization's funding comes from to Brooks, who didn't return a message before press time. Our money's on the usual suspects, beginning with the Walton fortune.
Death penalty drive
David Rickard, president of the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, said that the organization will start collecting signatures in May as a part of its petition drive to urge an examination of the death penalty's effects. The effort aims to present 100,000 signatures to Gov. Mike Beebe requesting that he place a moratorium on the death penalty and create a study commission. The commission would examine the cost of the death penalty, its impact on victims' families and corrections employees, and whether it is racially or geographically biased. Rickard said the coalition will collect signatures during the primary election in May and during the general election in November.
North Little Rock Alderman Cary Gaines will ask the City Council to pass a resolution encouraging the state legislature to increase the penalty for illegal discharge of a firearm in the city limits from $250 to $10,000 and 90 days in jail. He's prompted, he said, by recent gun violence and the prevalence of discharge of firearms in celebration — a la Baghdad — on New Year's Eve.
Speaking of guns: A correspondent asked The Insider whether the Huckabee family — mom, pop and at least one son are permitted — pack their heat on the campaign trail. Good question. No response from them so far.
A Smart Talk item Dec. 20 about the reading list Circuit Judge Willard Proctor gives probationers gave the wrong author for “Native Son.”
The Insider Dec. 20 referred incorrectly on a second reference to Larry Staley, the Sherwood man who shot David Cross on his property Oct. 23.