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LRSD School Board Candidates: Vicki Hatter, Zone 6

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Why are you running for Little Rock School Board?

“The school board is a really important position… we are supposed to be an external factor to make sure that our school district is operating the way that it should be, and that needs are being met.”

“I've been advocating for our school district for the last six years; prior to the state takeover, but even moreso after [the] state takeover. And so it’s very important to have people that have been in the fight for return of local control as well as having a wide enough network on both sides to bring together and get the district back on track.”

What experience do you have working in public education? 

“Outside of being a mother of children that have been and [are] in public schools, I've been an advocate for education for nearly 20 years now. As far as working in the schools, I have been a part of ViPS, which is Volunteers in Public Schools. I have been a parent-teacher volunteer, I have served on the local unit PTA as well as the state-level PTA as well as served on national PTA committees, as well as helped give testimony to educational bills that are being passed at the legislative level.”

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

“The very first thing would be to build public trust. We have been without a voice, as far as the parents and the community members as well as our teachers and students, we haven't been able to have a voice within our district… looking at our contracts, looking at administration levels, looking at classroom resources, making sure that our students [have] the resources to be successful, as well as our teachers have the tools they need and training they need to be successful as well.”

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?

“We are a weaker district. When we look at the number of school buildings we have we look at the number of school closings we look at our data as far as student and teacher retention, as well as the various policies that have gone into effect… the state has not done as well as local control had done back on Jan. 27, the day before the state takeover happened in 2015.”

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?

“It was not fair. At the time we had six failing schools, so it was less than 15% of our district that was failing, or that was labeled as in academic distress. During the course of the state court takeover we had as many as 22 schools that [were] labeled as failing or in academic distress under their reign.”

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?

“When we take office, we still do not have full local control… so my chief concern will be getting full local control to where we are able to control the budget, to where we are able to allocate the funds where they need to, and not just have a say on it but also… looking at how things ran in the district without having to seek permission from the state.”

“The community knows Vicki Hatter, and they know that they can trust that I will be working, in sight and out of sight, to make sure that we get full local control.”

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

“I'm always looking at the goal; what is the end goal and how can we meet it and what common grounds we have to where we can work together? Because at the end of the day, we have 23,000-plus students that are banking on a board of nine members of the community to do what is right. I'm not about conflict, I am a problem solver. And that's what I’m going to the board to do.”