Education reform session continues

(January 5, 2004) — (Little Rock-AP) -- Governor Huckabee is hoping legislators return to Little Rock today with a sense of urgency. The governor says they need to pass a school-reorganization plan that the state can afford and a funding formula that's equitable, and find a revenue source everyone can live with. A House committee could vote on Huckabee's education reform plan, which includes consolidating school districts with fewer than 500 students. The plan passed in the Senate, but anti-consolidation forces say it doesn't have the support needed to pass in the House. The Senate is expected to take up a funding bill supported by Arkansas' major education associations. The 383 (m) million dollar plan increases state funding for all but two of Arkansas' school districts and could be paid for with a penny sales tax increase. Huckabee and business leaders say they could agree to a tax increase if it results in better schools.