- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Two Arkansas school districts will hold a school board election for the first time since September 2010.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1VRQ9cY ) reports that school board elections for the Pulaski County Special School District and Helena-West Helena School District will occur Nov. 8 during the general election.

Arkansas school board elections have been held on the third Tuesday in September since 1988 as required by state law. But legislation was passed last year that gives school boards the option to move their local elections to November.

Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key set the November election date for the two districts.

“As a matter of policy, I believe a November election date promotes greater participation in the governance of our public schools,” Key said Monday in an emailed response to the newspaper.

The Pulaski County Special School District and Helena-West Helena School District were taken over by the state in June 2011 because of financial mismanagement and overspending. State-appointed leaders replaced their superintendents, and their locally elected school boards were dissolved.

The Arkansas Board of Education voted to remove the fiscal distress labels from the districts earlier this month. The board also allowed locally elected boards to run the districts as soon as those boards can be elected and trained.

“I hope other communities will take a look at this option to generate a greater level of community participation in the public schools,” he added.

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

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