Educators hold annual meeting

(August 5, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- Local school funding is one thing on the minds of educators at the annual meeting of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators this week. A panel of legislators told them yesterday that caps on local school funding could be a consequence of education reform. Local funding issues might dominate debate in a special session to meet a January first state Supreme Court deadline to overhaul Arkansas' unconstitutional school funding system. Senator Jim Argue, head of the Senate Education Committee, says local funding issues likely will lead to future lawsuits against the state. The legislators say a district's local wealth often drives the quality of education its children receive. Small districts in some areas could raise local taxes to increase course offerings and make other changes, which allow them to remain intact. But poor districts would be unable to meet the new standards and would be forced to consolidate, the legislators say.