- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas attorneys have argued that complaints made by Little Rock families and former school board members about the state’s 2015 takeover of the district should be dismissed.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1o7Gy5e ) reports that state attorneys submitted a motion Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed last year by Democratic state Rep. John Walker’s legal team.

The suit challenges Arkansas’ takeover of the district and the dismissal of the district’s locally elected board.

Attorneys said the Department of Education is immune from the lawsuit because the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the doctrine of sovereign immunity protect the state from being sued by its residents without its consent.

The motion also argues that the suit fails to give facts on which the federal court can grant relief.

State attorneys also said former Little Rock School Board members Jim Ross and Joy Springer, who are among the plaintiffs in the case, are not entitled by law to keep their elected positions and are without standing to assert equal-protection claims against the state.

The state Education Board voted on Jan. 28, 2015, to assume control of the 25,000-student district because six of the district’s 48 schools were labeled by the state as “academically distressed.”

Academically distressed schools are those in which more than half of the students scored below proficient on state math and literacy exams over three years.

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

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