State takes over financially troubled Mineral Springs School District


LITTLE ROCK —The state on Thursday took over the financially troubled Mineral Springs School District in Howard County.

In a state Department of Education news release, state Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell said he had exercised his authority to dissolve the southwestern Arkansas district’s school board.

“This action was necessary to keep Mineral Springs public schools operating and serving students despite the district’s extreme financial difficulties,” Kimbrell said. “Our No. 1 concern is the education of the students in this community. For the future of the district, students and the staff, state action had to be taken now.”

The district does not have sufficient cash flow to maintain a positive fund balance through the rest of the fiscal year ending June 30, according to the release.

Kimbrell and other Department of Education officials traveled to Mineral Springs on Thursday morning to inform acting Superintendent Bill Blackwood of the change. Blackwood has agreed to stay on board until Kimbrell appoints a new superintendent.

The state has taken steps to secure school records and to ensure district operations will continue uninterrupted, according to the release.

The state Board of Education classified the district as fiscally distress in December 2012. Under the Omnibus Quality Education Act of 2003, the education commissioner has authority to exercise a state takeover of districts in fiscal distress that do not adequately address their problems.