Last week, incoming Little Rock School Superintendent Michael Poore met with community members, visited schools and did media interviews. He attempted to reassure people upset over Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key’s recent decision to replace Little Rock Superintendent Baker Kurrus.
Poore, who currently heads the Bentonville school district, visited KUAR’s studios as well. He talked about his plans to restore trust in the community, the role of charter schools and the legacy of former superintendent Kurrus
Poore's discussion with KUAR touched on a recent Arkansas Board of Education decision to approve the expansion of nearly 3,000 charter school seats in Little Rock. Critics have said it could increasingly lead to resources being drawn away from the district, which competes with the charters for per-pupil state funding. Poore also commented on the possibility of closing schools. He said he didn't know yet if the district under his leadership would close any schools, but he said he was "excited" about opening a west Little Rock middle school and a southwest Little Rock high school.
In the days following the announcement that Poore would replace Kurrus, critics of the move renewed calls for the state to return the district to local control. In January 2015, the state board voted to dissolve the LRSD board and invest its decision-making authority in commissioner Key because of six schools deemed to be in academic distress. Poore says the district's return to local control is also his "target."