Arkansas lawmaker proposes reducing school funding based on reading readiness

Arkansas lawmaker proposes reducing school funding based on reading readiness

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A bill filed in the Arkansas legislature would put a focus on reading by putting a funding source on the line.

Republican State Senator Alan Clark of Lonsdale proposed bill SB349 this week which would tie National School Lunch state categorical funding to a school district’s reading readiness.

The National School Lunch categorical funding program should not be confused with the federal National School Lunch Act program, according to a research report from 2017.

According to the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research, school use that money for thing like tutoring and professional development, not to fund food programs.

If a school’s reading readiness levels fall below a certain percentage, Clark says they should lose a percentage of that funding.

According to the bill, which Clark filed Monday, a public school district’s national school lunch funding would be reduced if less than 70 percent of its students, in grades 3-10, qualified as “ready” or “exceeding” on the state’s reading assessments.

After two consecutive years of failing to meet the reading standard, the school’s funding would drop one level lower than it would usually receive.

After three consecutive years, the school would be ineligible for the National School Lunch categorical funding program until the school increased the percentage of students whose reading qualifies as “ready” or “exceeding.”

The bill goes before the Senate Committee on Education on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

To read Clark’s proposal in its entirety, click here.

Copyright 2019 KAIT. All rights reserved.