Governor warns of court-run schools

(August 15, 2003) — (Springdale-AP) -- Governor Huckabee says some agreement needs to be reached in the education reform debate to keep the courts from taking over schools. Huckabee says the last time that happened, millions of dollars were shifted from rural schools. But he says court action today would likely hurt larger districts. The past court action the governor was referring to involved a federally-ordered desegregation plan, which forced the state to draw money away from rural schools to pay for schools in and around Little Rock. Huckabee is traveling the state to promote his plan to raise standards and consolidate some smaller districts that cannot efficiently meet those standards. He says just raising taxes and adding money to the state's school fund will NOT do the job because too much money is needed. The state Supreme Court has found the way Arkansas funds schools to be unfair and unconstitutional. The state has a January deadline to make improvements.