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.