Round two of education costs

(April 14, 2004) — (Little Rock-AP) -- The chairman of the Senate Education Committee says the state needs to start taking a hard look at what could turn into a one billion dollar program to upgrade public school buildings and equipment. Senator Jim Argue says the Legislature needs to start thinking through its options for how to pay for the improvements. Argue says it would be a mistake to wait until the start of the regular legislative session in January. Legislators are still waiting for the Arkansas Supreme Court to rule on whether planned education improvements meet a court order. Also, a ten million dollar statewide assessment of school buildings could be expanded to include nontraditional teaching facilities -- such as those in prisons and youth lockups. The cost for the study could rise if it is expanded.