TIMELINE OF EVENTS
2003: Legislation is passed to give the State legal authority to takeover a school district for either fiscal or academic distress (if 75% or more students in a district are scoring “below basic”).
2013: Legislation is passed that changes the rules regarding district takeover and lowers the thresholds:
49.5% or less of students scoring below proficient or advanced over 3 years.
49.5% or less of students in at least one school in the district scoring below proficient or advanced over 3 years.
2014: Six of 48 LRSD schools were labeled as academically distressed. LRSD Board begins working on interventions in the academically distressed schools.
January 28, 2015: State Board of Education takes over LRSD in a 5-4 vote and dismisses the democratically elected school board.
March 2, 2015: Governor Hutchinson announces Johnny Key as his appointee for Commissioner of Education.
March 2, 2015: Senator Alan Clark proposes legislation allowing Commissioner of Education be exempt from requirements of a master’s degree and 10 years teaching experience.
March 6, 2015: Rep. Bruce Cozart introduces HB1733*—to allow school districts under state control be turned over to “non-profit” entities. This would turn LRSD into an all-charter district. The Bill includes many exemptions to State Education Law.
*Scott Smith of Arkansas Public School Research Foundation (supported by Walton Foundation at a total of $3 million a year) is quoted as saying he was the author of the bill.
March 12, 2015: Bill excluding requirements for Commissioner of Education passes House Education Committee and is later passed by the House and Senate.
March 17, 2015: Rally at State Capitol opposing HB1733. Rep. Cozart pulls the Bill.
March 25, 2015: Johnny Key is confirmed by State Board of Education as Commissioner.
April 21, 2015: Dexter Suggs resigns as superintendent amid allegations of plagiarism.
May 5, 2015: Johnny Key appoints Baker Kurrus as LRSD superintendent and says, “I've been asked many times about a national search, and my response to that was, we need someone that can bring Arkansas solutions and Little Rock solutions to the Little Rock School District. That means we need someone who has Little Rock roots and Little Rock connections….I can think of no one better ... than Mr. Baker Kurrus."
February 19, 2016: Charter Authorizing Panel approves eStem and LISA’s expansion and sends to Board for final approval.
March 10, 2016: Under public pressure the State Board of Education votes to hold a public hearing on eStem and LISA expansion.
March 17, 2016: Brett Williamson, State Board of Education member, calls for a vote to resend the public hearing on eStem and LISA expansion.
March 18, 2016: Brett Williamson drops recension vote and it is removed from the agenda.
March 31, 2016: State Board of Education holds public hearing on expansion of charter schools. Baker Kurrus speaks out against expansion and details the harm charter expansion will bring to LRSD.
April 7, 2016: Little Rock Preparatory asks Johnny Key for a 120 seat expansion to be approved at the end of May. This request requires an exception to the mandatory October or February deadline.
August 2015: KLS LLC, which shares a post office box with Walton Enterprises, buys the old Lutheran building, the site of the new Little Rock Preparatory.
March 2016: A construction company starts working on the building.
May 12, 2016: When the board is criticized for double standards Diane Zook, a member of the State Board of Education, reveals that Little Rock Preparatory has withdrawn its request for expansion but still requests a move to the new campus.
April 18, 2016: The Arkansas Times reports that Johnny Key has fired Baker Kurrus. Michael Poore resigns from Bentonville.
April 19, 2016: Johnny Key names Michael Poore as LRSD superintendent.
April 23, 2016: Rally to #StandUp4LR held at the State Capitol (approximately 600 people attend), reactivating community engagement in the call for return to local control of LRSD.
April 28, 2016: The Civic Advisory Committee, the group charged by the State Board of Education with representing the community of Little Rock, calls for the resignation of Johnny Key, the return of local governance, and a moratorium on charter expansion.
May 10, 2016: LISA recruitment flyers arrive by mail. The charter school spent $17, 295 to send out 69,975 flyers. None were sent to the 72202, 72204, or 72209 zip codes, areas with high minority populations.
- March 13, 2016: Michael Poore announces in his first report to the State Board of Education that his plans for LRSD include creating technical career centers in the high schools. His tours of career centers were funded by the Walton Foundation, and many people expect that these centers will be funded by the Walton Foundation as well.