Here’s the link to the so-called blueprint for changes in the Little Rock School District to be discussed at a meeting of the state-controlled district’s largely powerless community advisory board at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Metro Career Tech Center.

The broader idea is to improve education and increase student achievement. But facility plans, with related school assignments, have dominated discussions. The blueprint outlines a range of issues, including expanded pre-K education and the need for $300 million in facility investment. State funding will be sought, which could be a problem given recent legislative discussions about the cost of facilities work and the need to cut taxes and tighten the budget.


Some of the faclities plans are familiar, though the report delves into specifics about all of them, such as the new Southwest Little Rock high school and converting both the old McClellan and J.A. Fair high schools as K-8 schools. McClellan would house students now at Cloverdale Middle, and Baseline and Meadowcliff elementaries, which would be closed. Henderson, David O. Dodd and Romine would be closed and melded into the Fair facility. Some alternative uses are suggested for the close schools. Hall High would begin a focus on science and medicine and collaborate with the nearby Forest Heights STEM school. The English as second language students now at Hall will move to the new high school and boundary changes are envisioned for Hall to increase its enrollment.

Left open is the question of unused office space adjacent to the Pinnacle View Middle School. Some would like to see it become a high school. But the blueprint does call for adding 9th grade at Pinnacle View next year and considering future expansion. From the report:


What “Traditional High School” Will Be Possible? The time frame for adding any additional LRSD high schools is quite a complex and lengthy process. LRSD will continue research and conversations to develop a more workable plan for the western region and put emphasis on addressing middle school growth challenges and boosting Hall High renaissance.

There’d possibly be a new magnet K-8 school combining Bale Elementary  and former Hamilton Academy/SW Junior High facilities. It won’t be easy.

Antipathy to Charter Schools: We need $25M to make this conversion real, to enhance the facilities and enhance educational choice in the Midtown corridor. LRSD will need to get significant and long-term local business and corporate investment to get this project fully off the “drawing board.” This might be an opportunity for New Market Tax Credit funds.

Birth to pre-K education would become the “focus” of Rockefeller Elementary downtown and Washington K-5 school downtown would develop a language program to make it a good transition to Dunbar Junior High. The report included this comment to “community concerns”:


How Does the District Maintain Relevance and Attractiveness to Compete with Charters in the Region? The District needs expanded PR for Downtown schools which now offer Birth to Central High School education. One strategy is to “soup up” community partnerships with businesses in the downtown and enrich the STEAM emphasis at Booker and Carver elementary schools. The District could keep these programs going and continue looking for large-scale contributions and consider adding landscaping and garden clubs for each school supported by additional local donations. 

The blueprint released tonight doesn’t include a comprehensive list of district facilities or address concerns that a number of facilities might be on the chopping block. It makes several references to hope for corporate support. You think the Waltons would be interested?

Much more to come.