Critical Senate vote due

(December 17, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- The Senate could soon hold a vote on Governor Huckabee's plan to consolidate school districts with fewer than 500 students. In the House, an alternative that would forestall consolidation for at least two years is scheduled for a rehearing today in the House Education Committee. The measure failed by one vote Monday after the sponsor pulled it from the House floor to increase the proposed new minimum teacher salary. With 18 votes needed for Huckabee's education plan to pass the 35-member Senate, an informal survey by The Associated Press showed 14 who said they would definitely vote for the governor's plan. Fourteen others said they would vote against it and four members said they had not made up their minds. Three members did not attend committee meetings or a general Senate session yesterday and could not be reached for comment.