LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas panel has given preliminary approval for three open-enrollment charter schools in the central part of the state.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the Charter Authorizing Panel voted in favor of the Little Rock and Pine Bluff schools. The approvals bring the number of new schools the panel supports to five.

Mike Poore is superintendent of the state-controlled Little Rock district. He objects to the proposals, saying Little Rock already has too many available elementary seats.

Alexandra Boyd is the state Department of Education's charter school program manager. She says newly endorsed and denied proposals will go to the Arkansas Board of Education for final action in September. The board has the authority to vote to accept the panel's decisions or to conduct a hearing.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com