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Little Rock School District considering $15 million budget reduction plan



Little Rock, Arkansas – The Little Rock School District is currently working on developing a budget reduction plan to eliminate as much as $15 million in spending, having ended the previous year with a $6.9 million deficit.

During a meeting on Thursday, the district board was shown the draft plan and schedule for the reduction. The proposal’s details revealed several LRSD workers who would lose their jobs if it were approved.

There are roughly 34–41 school-based positions in the plan that will be eliminated.The plan estimates that Little Rock West’s closure and the elimination of many roles will save roughly $11 million. During the meeting, it was not stated which post will be eliminated.

Jermall Wright, superintendent of LRSD, pointed out that the plan is still under development.

“Some stuff we can’t bring to you now because we have to go through the actual course selection and master scheduling process,” Wright said. “So as things occur, we will bring the specific list to the board for you to see.”

Regarding the number of positions being reduced in the district office, 14–18 positions have been eliminated, two roles have been repurposed with shorter contract periods, and one new position has been introduced.

On January 25, the list of designated posts will be submitted to the board for approval.

According to school authorities, this financial choice was mostly influenced by a decline in enrolment. Vicki Hatter, a board member for Zone 5, inquired about the procedure used to determine which positions will be eliminated.

According to Wright, the district looked back over the previous ten years to determine what worked in primary schools and planned to build it on that. The adjustments for middle and high schools will depend on both schedule and enrolment.

“As we are finalizing those schedules, we will know how many teacher positions we will need and know how many we won’t need,” the superintendent said.

The positions of paraprofessionals, instructors, and secretaries are the most heavily reduced.

As per the proposal, the district intends to “eliminate current vacant teacher positions in paraprofessional positions, which are unnecessary.” This would translate to roughly 20–25 jobs.

It further says, “We are also looking to eliminate another 15-20 teacher and paraprofessional positions based on enrollment and course selection/master schedule needs.”

The plan also states that switching from block schedules to a seven-period day would save middle schools $1 million. Eleven jobs would be impacted by this move.

It is anticipated that the scheduling decision for this adjustment will be made in March, and the announcement of the positions that will be eliminated should come in April.

Greg Adams, a board member for Zone 8, questioned whether this was an academic or financial decision.

“if it’s going to hurt academics, we wouldn’t want to do it even if it’s going to save money,” Adams advised.

“This move, outside of a financial impact, was viewed favorably from an academic and structural standpoint,” Wright responded.

Parents and the community can see the entire plan online, provided by the district.


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