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Vote to Dissolve Little Rock, Ark., School Board Results in Lawsuit

Three members of the Little Rock, Ark., school board are suing the state education commissioner after the state board of education voted on Jan. 28 to immediately disband the local school board and take over the school district.

The lawsuit, filed Friday against state Education Commissioner Tony Wood and the board of education, argues that the state's action was "arbitrary" and "capricious" and that the commissioners acted in bad faith when they voted after a long drawn-out meeting last month to dissolve the board of the state's largest school district, according to the Associated Press.

The plaintiffs—board members Dianne Curry, Jim Ross, and C.E. McAdoo, and a resident, Doris Pendleton—are asking the court for a restraining order and a preliminary injunction against the state to overturn the takeover. Lawyers for the plaintiffs told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the state acted "outside of its authority" when it voted.  

In the Jan. 28 action, the education commission voted 5-4 to dissolve the seven-member Little Rock school board but keep on Superintendent Dexter Suggs as the interim superintendent. Suggs now reports directly to the education department.

The state board action was a result of dissatisfaction with the academic results at six of the district's 48 schools, which have been designated "academically distressed" because fewer than half of the students in those schools were proficient on state math and literacy tests over a three-year period, according to the paper.

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