Arkansas needs a more efficient K-12 public school system with fewer superintendents and other administrators. We should not close rural schools simply because they are small or rural if they are in compliance with Lake View and producing acceptable academic results. They can remain open under administrative restructuring where an administrative unit is defined as “one superintendent and an associated superintendent’s staff.” This proposal means fewer administrators and nothing more or less.

In proposing administrative restructuring in 1998 we noted, “This recommendation does not require the consolidation or annexation of any school districts. Nor does this recommendation require any reduction in teaching positions or non-certified, non-administrative positions in any district. Additionally, no district transportation systems will be impacted and no school sites will be closed. Every school can keep its mascot, football and basketball team and preserve long standing rivalries with other schools.

Unfortunately, administrative restructuring has not been taken seriously enough. This oversight is ironic. PA 60 of the 2nd Extraordinary Session of 2003, sponsored by state Rep. Will Bond, D-Jacksonville, states, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the closing of any school or school facility (p. 5).” The measure has led to fewer superintendents, a Policy Foundation goal. It has also contributed to the closure of local school campuses in the 66 districts that have been annexed or consolidated in recent years. Arkansas had 311 districts in 1998 when the Commission recommended restructuring into 134 administrative units. Today there are 244 districts.

Other proposals such as circuit-style teaching does not diminish the urgent need to reduce the number of administrators.

  Arkansas’ 244 school districts should be organized into not more than 134 “administrative units” defined as “one superintendent and an associated superintendent’s staff.” Restructuring should commence in Arkansas districts that record failing (D or F) grades for two consecutive years.