State Takes Over Bald Knob School District

LITTLE ROCK, AR - State officials today took control of the financially-strapped Bald Knob School District and have recommended its school be annexed into a neighboring district.

Arkansas Education Commissioner Ken James announced that school Superintendent Wayne Fawcett and Bald Knob's school board had been removed from power.  The 1,300-student district will be under state control until at least the state Board of Education meets next month.

The district is projected to be $2 million in debt this year.

The district was placed in fiscal distress by the state in June for having a projected deficit of $479,000.  The district had received a number of short-term loans to meet its operational expenses and owes $610,500 in loan payments this year.

As of August 13, the district had a bank balance of $18,142 and the state had to issue an early payment of $1.2 million in per-student funding so the district could pay its employees and pay a bank note due next week.

The state Board of Education will decide in a special meeting September 24 on the potential annexation of the Bald Knob district.

In the past several years, the state has had to take over three other school districts...Helena-West Helena, Eudora and Midland.  Eudora was annexed into neighboring Lakeside School District and Midland will regain control of its school district after the September school board elections.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)