Legislators: "Everything on the table"

(August 7, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- A panel of legislators says it will be a complicated and difficult task to raise money to fund an overhaul of the state's school system. That was their message yesterday to the Arkansas Educational Administrators Association, which ended its annual meeting. House Speaker Herschel Cleveland says all aspects of education, from student test scores to millage rates, are on the table as legislators look for ways to make court-ordered improvements to public education by year's end. The legislators say they favor a system that would equalize millage revenue throughout the state. Last month, consultants hired to guide legislators in reforming the education system provided a preliminary cost estimate of 709 (m) million dollars to provide the state's public school children equal access to an adequate education. The estimate does NOT include the cost of repairing the state's crumbling school buildings. Cleveland says a statewide bond issue may be an option for improving school buildings.