LITTLE ROCK (AP) — State officials on Thursday took over the financially struggling Mineral Springs School District, dissolving the southwest Arkansas district’s board as it faces a budget shortfall.
The takeover of the 449-student district came a little over six months after the state Board of Education classified Mineral Springs as fiscally distressed after officials said it would end the current fiscal year with a $131,616 deficit. State Education officials told the district about the takeover earlier Thursday.
"This action was necessary to keep Mineral Springs public schools operating and serving students despite the district’s extreme financial difficulties," state Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell said in a statement issued by the department. "Our number one concern is the education of the students in this community. For the future of the district, students and the staff, state action had to be taken now."
The Education Department said Acting Superintendent Bill Blackwood has agreed to stay on until the state finds a replacement for him. The department said it had taken steps to secure school records and ensure school operations will continue uninterrupted.
Mineral Springs is the fourth district that is currently under state control. The state is also managing the Dollarway, Pulaski County Special and Helena-West Helena school districts for similar financial problems.