Ed Board places one district on fiscal distress, two on academic distress


LITTLE ROCK — The state Board of Education on Monday placed one school district on fiscal distress status and two districts on academic distress.

The board also allowed an open-enrollment charter school to stop serving high school grades and approved the voluntary surrender of a conversion charter that it granted earlier this year.

In a voice vote, with no “no” votes heard, the board added the Hughes School District to the list of fiscally distressed districts because of repeated audit findings.

The board also voted to place the Lee County and Strong-Huttig districts on academic distress status. Again, no “no” votes were heard.

Under legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Mike Beebe last week and took effect immediately, school districts in fiscal or academic distress have five years to get out of that classification or face mandatory consolidation or annexation to one or more nearby districts. Previously, districts had two years to fix their problems.

Also Monday, the board voted unanimously to renew the charter of Covenant Keepers College Preparatory Charter School in Little Rock and allow the open-enrollment charter school to change its location from 8300 Geyer Springs Road to 5615 Geyer Springs Road and begin serving grades 6-8 instead of grades 6-12.

The school had request renewal of its charter for seven years, but the board granted renewal for three years.

The board also voted unanimously to accept the South Pike County School District’s surrender of its charter for Murfreesboro High School. On Jan. 14, the board had granted the district’s request to turn the high school into a conversion charter school, but on Feb. 2 the district’s school board voted not to move forward with the charter school.