LR Superintendent Assumes Interim Role After State Takeover Of District

Jan 29, 2015

Interim Superintendent Dexter Suggs speaks to reporters Thursday about the state takeover of the Little Rock School District.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Dexter Suggs has assumed his role as Interim Superintendent of the Little Rock School District following the State Board of Education’s decision to dissolve the local school board Wednesday.

In his first press conference since the state takeover, Suggs said he will move forward with plans for the district and  seek participation from those who spoke out against the state action.

Suggs said he was "inspired by the excitement, the enthusiasm that was shown these last couple of weeks. We need to maintain that excitement, that enthusiasm, that sense of accountability. I ask, community, please hold me accountable and hold the Arkansas Department of Education accountable.”

He said the district will proceed with a $375 million dollar facilities plan that includes construction of a middle school in west Little Rock and a high school in southwest Little Rock, as well as a reconstitution of Hall High School.

"I’m tired of sitting in gyms where there’s not AC whatsoever. I’m tired of going to a play where the curtains don’t work, the lighting is poor. I’m tired of kids taking classes in trailers,” said Suggs.

Suggs said the building of the schools will no longer be contingent upon one another as Little Rock School Board members had decided.

Joy Springer, a former member of the now dissolved board who was elected last fall, spoke to reporters after the press conference, saying she is considering whether to take legal action to stop the state takeover.

"To me, the reasons they gave were pre-textual. They were not true reasons as to the actual reason of the takeover. What else is left over other than there is some other motivation and to me it has to be race,” Springer said.

The first community meeting to address the future of the district will be held 5:30 p.m. February 9th at Chicot Elementary School.