AG says court must decide rally's intent

(April 1, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- Attorney General Mike Beebe says it would be up to a court to determine if an anti-consolidation rally involving school buses and school personnel was a misuse of state funds. Representative Jay Bradford of White Hall asked for Beebe's opinion. At issue is a December eighth rally on the Capitol steps. School personnel and students took part in the rally, and organizers used school buses. Beebe says the legality would depend on whether the rally was a "school-sponsored political lobbying effort" and how employees and students were used. He said such a factual determination is for a court to decide and is outside of his authority. The "Save Our Schools" rally was held to discourage legislators from setting a minimum enrollment for school districts, which could close rural school districts.