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Little Rock School District plans to save money through new class schedule

The three proposed alternate schedules for middle school. The third option was chosen by the board.
Three proposed alternate schedules for middle schools in the Little Rock School District. The third option was chosen by board members on Thursday.

The Little Rock School Board Thursday agreed on a plan to rearrange middle school schedules. The plan intends to save money by cutting personnel.

In Arkansas, school districts in financial distress can be taken over by charter school companies. The LRSD is currently struggling financially and needs to cut $16 million from the budget to avoid financial distress.

Board members have drafted a plan to cut spending. It includes $1 million in cuts coming from a rearranging of middle school schedules. The district estimates this will allow them to cut 11 positions.

In the past, middle schools operated on an “A/B Schedule" meaning students took eight classes with four classes each taken on alternating days. The new plan would give students five 75-minute classes a day. English and math classes will meet daily while other classes will meet on alternating days.

The district came up with three scheduling plans. They then surveyed just over 500 people and found this one to be the most popular. 56.5% of responders preferred this plan.

To continue with the cuts, the LRSD plans to fire support staff, leadership and office jobs. Board members met in executive session during the meeting to discuss who would be laid off.

The district also talked about possible plans to embed snow days into the calendar by counting minutes already spent in class toward the ultimate amount of time spent in class. Superintendent Jermall Wright says the group will not yet vote on the plans without committee approvals.

Josie Lenora is the Politics/Government Reporter for Little Rock Public Radio.