- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Little Rock School District has notified 63 employees, including the deputy superintendent and associate superintendents, that their jobs will be eliminated.

Interim superintendent Dexter Suggs told the district’s Financial Stability Committee Monday that notices have been sent to employees, who are from the senior-leadership level. Eligible staff members were told that they will be offered other positions, like teaching jobs, in the district. Others were told they could apply for other district jobs.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1NQpjdZ ) reports that the notices say the cuts are a result of the impending loss of desegregation funding. The layoffs will produce an annual savings of about $3.5 million.

A 2014 settlement ended the state’s obligation to pay desegregation aid to three school districts, including the Little Rock district. The last payment will be in the 2017-18 school year. Suggs and Chief Financial Officer Kelsey Bailey also presented the committee with a list of 29 items that could possibly be cut over the next three years to help offset the loss of the desegregation aid.

“Our objective is to push as much funding to the schools and to the teachers in the classroom to provide the resources they need,” Suggs said. “We are going to lead by example and make the hard decisions so we don’t jeopardize programs such as magnet schools, theater, band and athletics.”

District leaders said they received approval from the state’s education commissioner to make the cuts. The commissioner acts as the school board for the district, which has been operating under state control since January.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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