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Zone changes portend 2022 elections for all Little Rock School Board seats

by Cynthia Howell, NWA Online

September 26, 2021

Little Rock School Board election zones are in line for changes because of population shifts that occurred among the zones between 2010 and 2020 as shown by U.S. census counts.

With the changes in the zone boundaries comes the likelihood that all School Board positions will have to be open for election in the November 2022 election, Superintendent Mike Poore told board members last week.

“My best guess … is that you are going to make changes within all the zones, and the reality of that means we are going to have to have an election for all board members in November 2022,” Poore said.

“At one time, we thought maybe only two areas of the city would have to be changed and we would not have to have elections for every seat,” Poore said, but that a majority of attorneys consulted on the matter had advised districtwide elections in 2022.

The Little Rock School District is one of the dozens in Arkansas facing election zone boundary changes and the election of all board seats next year because of the new census counts.

Typically, board seat elections are staggered so that not all seats are open in any one year.

News of the zone changes and potential for districtwide elections arrives less than a year after the nine-member Little Rock board was elected last November and December. Those 2020 elections followed six years in which the capital city school system was under state control and without an elected board.

Nineteen people ran for the nine open seats in 2020, with some candidates spending tens of thousands of dollars to be elected to the unpaid positions. Subsequently, the elected board has received training from outside consultants on how to operate as a board. That training continues, with sessions planned for this week.

Little Rock board members were elected from single-member zones that were drawn based on the 2010 U.S. census numbers — the latest numbers available at that time.

Arkansas Geographic Information Systems developed a number of election zone options for use in the 2020 elections. And now the Little Rock district has engaged the agency to develop options for reconfigured zones that are based on the latest census data.

Read the full article HERE.

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