Public school districts in Arkansas regularly buy and sell property, pending approval of local education boards, or course. But today, the Arkansas Senate approved a bill that would take some of that control away.
Senate Bill 308 would allow charter schools the right to purchase or lease unused public school buildings, a seemingly small concession that nonetheless raises big questions about local versus state control of schools and inspired a heated back and forth between senators this week.
Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) said Tuesday that some public school districts let buildings sit empty, a misfortune he equated to murdering a building.
“We have had schools literally rot to the ground rather than let someone use them for educational purposes. That should never happen.”
Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock) had a lot of questions for Clark. She told a Senate Education Committee Tuesday that the bill is heavy handed, and she said it takes local control from public districts.