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LRSD School Board Candidates: Chris Kingsby, Zone 6

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Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“I feel like there have been a lot of voices that have been recognized from parents, teachers, but the one voice I believe is being left out is our students… so what I am trying to accomplish is making sure that we have someone on the school board who ‘student-focused’ isn't just a slogan for them. But rather someone who is… a recent graduate of the Little Rock School District and has been the child that No Child Left Behind actually left behind.”

What experience do you have working in public education?

“I don’t have experience teaching but I am a recent graduate of the Little Rock School District. I attended public school my entire life because that's what we could afford… so I have firsthand knowledge of the issues that are impacting our school district negatively.”

What are your main policy goals or things you want to change while in office?

“We have a really big problem with equity in our public schools… the first thing we talk about is the way that we fund our schools. It’s inadequate. The way that we send money to west Little Rock or one side of I-630 and not the other, it shows.”

How has the LRSD fared the past five years without a locally-elected school board? How would you re-introduce the concept of a school board?

“I think what we have really seen is a lack of leadership from the state Board of Education and the Secretary of Education Johnny Key, the one-man school board for LRSD… if I'm elected we start with reintroducing ourselves. That means letting people know that you have a voice and your voice will be valued. Meaning our teachers shouldn't have to fear for their jobs. It means making sure that we have someone who will stand up for public education.”

Do you think the state takeover of the LRSD in 2015 was fair? What would you do to make sure that wouldn’t happen again?

“I think what we don't talk a lot about is the trauma that comes with having your voice or your rights ripped away. What happened in January 2015 was an absolute threat to democracies all across this country. A locally elected school board was dissolved after a high number of minorities were elected to the board. I don't know how you paint that picture any more clear.”

“I believe that if we go in there with our heads held high with a strong sense of accountability, we will have a board that can move and progress effectively. I think that's something that we lacked before.”

What can and can’t you do as a LRSD school board member under the state guidelines? Are you worried the public’s expectations will be more than what you can actually do?

“I think from my understanding of it is that the state Board will still have control over those schools that are failing at their criteria of grading. Or at least if not control, then they will continue to advise the school board.”

“The state board is still there and.... I'm telling you, from day one we will fight against them. Because the reality is, our children's education is not for sale.”

How will you handle any disagreements between board members or with the superintendent or the Department of Education?

“We all have to find some form of common ground. This is our children's education, there's a lot on the line here, and so I think there will have to be a point where... we're going to have to agree that our children's education is first, over greed, over selfishness, over anything.”