Education reform proposals finalized...sort of...

(August 20, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- A legislative committee is leaving itself room to make changes in school reform suggestions they agreed on yesterday. The committee reached agreement on a new statewide teacher pay scale and on a new school funding formula, but could make revisions before issuing a final report. Legislators from south and southeast Arkansas complained that the complex new funding system still does NOT provide enough money for poor districts. Another recommendation changes Arkansas' teacher pay scale to a performance-based system that would allow teachers to move up a 15-step pay scale based on skills and classroom performance. It also raises starting teacher pay from about 21-thousand, 800 dollars to 29-thousand dollars. There's also salary incentives in areas with teacher shortages or for teachers qualified in subjects for which there aren't enough teachers. The committee's recommendations to the Legislature are due September first. The committee could meet again before that deadline. Governor Huckabee would still have to call a special session for the legislation to be approved.