Speaker: we need better info

(December 19, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- House speaker Herschel Cleveland says he is afraid legislators may miss a court-ordered January deadline for education reform. The representative says one problem helping hold bills up is a lack of current information from the State Department of Education. Cleveland says funding bills must use current information on enrollment, spending, teacher salaries and other data to arrive at accurate figures. Drafts of a funding proposal backed by Cleveland and other House leaders and distributed to members this week did not use current data. Woody Cummins, deputy state education director, says he and other department officials met with Cleveland and have resolved some of the problems. Cummins says he does not think the data was incorrect, but the information was in a format different than what legislators wanted.