Suit threatened over consolidation

(February 3, 2004) — (Saratoga-AP) -- Arkansas' new school consolidation bill does not go far enough for Governor Huckabee. But the Arkansas Rural Education Association says the law prompting administrative merger of districts with less than 350 students goes too far and the group will likely file a legal challenge. Association director Jimmy Cunningham was invited to a special meeting of the Saratoga School Board yesterday. The board oversees a district of 180 students and wanted information on a possible lawsuit. The Saratoga School District would be one of 59 districts affected by the new law. The district most likely would have to consolidate with either the Hope or Mineral Springs school districts. The Legislature passed the measure in the ongoing special session on education reform, and the bill became law without Huckabee's signature. Huckabee said the measure didn't go far enough in consolidating smaller schools and meeting a court order to overhaul the state's public school system.