State Board Of Education To Review Separation Of Pulaski District

May 27, 2015

State Department of Education Building in Little Rock.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas State Board of Education took a step to divide the Pulaski County Special School District Wednesday.

The board approved an amended version of a report recommending the cities of Sherwood and Maumelle form their own districts.  Western portions of Little Rock would move from the PCSSD to join the Little Rock School District.

PCCSD Superintendent Jerry Guess told board members he thinks the changes will lead to greater inequity in schools.

“At some point, the line for the school district boundary was created based on some objective criteria,” said Guess.  “Today, you still deal with the issue that what is fair to one person may not be fair to another,” he added.

Board Member Diane Zook says she is not concerned whether the separation is “fair”

“I’m concerned about kids staying in public schools. I’m concerned about parents feeling that they have choices. I think when our schools become the best that people will come and they will reflect the community and the diversity within those communities,” said Zook, who said she wants all children to receive an equitable education.

The PCCSD, which is under control of the State Board of Education, recently failed to gain voter approval for a millage increase to help improve facilities.

The district is subject to court supervision following a 1989 desegregation lawsuit. It must improve its facilities, student achievement, monitoring, discipline, and staffing to be released from the case.  

The state board will meet again on June 21 to review the amended report.