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Proposed job cuts in LRSD cause divide between board and superintendent

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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- Future layoffs in the Little Rock School District are causing a division between the school board and its superintendent.

School board President Greg Adams said Friday that the relationship between the board and superintendent Dr. Dexter Suggs is in an adjustment period. Suggs has only been superintendent for one semester in Little Rock, and now budget concerns are a front and center issue that must be worked on.

To start year 2013 LRSD had to withdraw $3 million in reserve funds to make the budget, and now superintendent Suggs is working to slim that number with layoffs.

"He doesn't have to have our approval to make these moves," Adams made clear during an interview Friday. "This is part of what he's empowered to do as a superintendent, and then the employees who are going to be eliminated can bring their concerns to the board and at that time we would evaluate it."

Adams referred to the appear process each terminated employee at LRSD is offered under state law.

Suggs' plans were presented at Thursday's school board meeting.

He is considering cutting six full time jobs, three of those which are department directors. Additionally cuts would eliminate a stipend for the district's middle school supervisor.

Three of the positions up to be cut make between $107,000 and $121,000.

Adams downplayed Thursday night's discussion that Suggs could face demotion, and instead said it's a tough time for everyone as they try to make budgets work.

"To get there we're going to have some conflicts, we're going to have some differences of opinion that we're going to have to work through," Adams added. "We're going to need to listen to one another and work together."

Dr. Suggs was unable to meet with Channel Seven on Friday, but according to his layed out play, the job cuts are expected to go into effect on July 1.

Cuts include workers who have been with the district for more than 20 years.

The proposition was discussed for an hour in an executive session between the superintendent and school board.