EDUCATION

Arkansas education board votes to take over Little Rock School District after poor test scores

  • Little Rock School Board President Greg Adams listed to the discussion at a meeting of the Arkansas State Board of Education in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. The state board voted to take over the Little Rock School District Wednesday. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

    Little Rock School Board President Greg Adams listed to the discussion at a meeting of the Arkansas State Board of Education in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. The state board voted to take over the Little Rock School District Wednesday. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)  (The Associated Press)

  • Samuel Ledbetter, chairman of the State Board of Education, presides over a meeting of the board in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. The board voted to take over the Little Rock School District Wednesday. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

    Samuel Ledbetter, chairman of the State Board of Education, presides over a meeting of the board in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. The board voted to take over the Little Rock School District Wednesday. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ontario West, a senior at Hall High School in Little Rock, Ark., speaks at a meeting of the Arkansas State Board of Education in Little Rock Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. The board voted to take over the Little Rock School District Wednesday. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

    Ontario West, a senior at Hall High School in Little Rock, Ark., speaks at a meeting of the Arkansas State Board of Education in Little Rock Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. The board voted to take over the Little Rock School District Wednesday. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)  (The Associated Press)

Arkansas education officials have voted to assume control of the Little Rock School District after students at some of its schools performed poorly on state benchmark exams.

The Arkansas Board of Education voted 5-4 at a special meeting Wednesday in Little Rock. The action followed nearly four hours of public testimony from students, teachers and community members who were overwhelmingly opposed to the takeover.

The state last year classified an elementary school, two middle schools and three high schools as being in academic distress after fewer than half of the students scored at proficient levels on the tests.

The education board voted to immediately remove the seven-member school district board. The superintendent will remain on an interim basis and will report to the state Department of Education commissioner.