Employees, both classified and certified, came in with their attorneys to make their cases that were to fall on deaf ears with only Board Member Christopher Franklin dissenting from the Board's decision to uphold the layoffs as part of the district's reduction in force plan to deal with fiscal distress.
School Board Attorney Vandall Bland opened the meeting by threatening the overflow crowd with being thrown out if they made noisy outbursts.
The hearings began with a set of mass hearings based on job category for the classified employees. Superintendent Willie Williams made recommendations to cut a certain number in all of the classified categories. In each category, the attorneys for the riffed employees argued that the district was cutting so much that the services being delivered could not adequately be provided with the remaining staff levels being recommended by the school administration. Whether it was the janitors, security, teacher assistants, or school nurses, all the recommendations related to the classified staff with only Franklin dissenting.
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|Fears vs Bland|
State Representative Nancy Blount testified on behalf of Fears. She told the Board that Fears's position was "essential" and said that since Fears's pay was 100% from federal money, the district wasn't saving any money for its general fund budget by placing her in the reduction in force." Again, the Board was not swayed by the testimony and Fears was tossed with only Franklin dissenting.
Two other hearings were held. Arnetta Trice's appeal was rejected. Linda English was also let go. Her hearing was closed at her request. The Inside Scoop Online formally objected to the hearing being closed under provisions of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.