Education reform may include new accounting practices

(September 19, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- Members of key legislative committees are discussing how to make court-ordered education reforms and foot the bill. The House and Senate education and revenue committees met together yesterday to start crafting a package of bills to overhaul education. Tristen Greene, a state Department of Education adviser to the committees, says one issue legislators have largely NOT considered is how to make sure schools follow the new system once it is developed. Senator Jim Argue, head of the Senate Education Committee, says a standardized accounting system for all school districts is one part of the overall package of legislation needed to meet the court mandate. The state Supreme Court has ruled that Arkansas fails to distribute state funds equitably to its 308 school districts and does NOT adequately fund education. The court gave legislators until January to come up with ways to correct the deficiencies.