January 22, 2003
Posted at: 10:03 a.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas residents are making little use of a toll-free number through which they can register their opinions on how to improve the public schools.
Anna Kay Frueauff coordinates Arkansas Partners for Educational Excellence, or APEX. The group is a new coalition of business, community and nonprofit groups set up to involve people in plans by Governor Huckabee and the Legislature to overhaul education.
The group's campaign to stir up grass-roots interest in schools educating 450,000 youngsters is new to the state. The governor and legislators are faced with a year-end deadline, set by the state Supreme Court, to address widespread inadequacies in the schools.
Experts have said it could take as much as $1 billion dollars more per year to address the court's concerns.
APEX, a nonpartisan group that says it has no political agenda, is trying to stir up grass roots involvement. The coalition announced its formation in December and plans to run the campaign into February.
APEX offers a toll-free number -- 1-800-231-8725 -- for people to share or get information. From January sixth to January 19th, 172 people called, and operators talked to them a total of 340 minutes.