State Lawyer Says Compliance Needed

Mach 20, 2003
Posted at: 4:10 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A lawyer in the state attorney's office says the state would face the wrath of Arkansas' highest court if it fails to comply with an order to make sweeping changes in the state's public school system.

Assistant Attorney General Tim Gauger told the Senate the state lost a legal challenge of its public school system because it has failed to offer children a quality education. He said failure to develop remedies will land the state back in court.

The Senate sponsor of an alternative plan to Governor Huckabee's school district reorganization bill says he is willing to reconsider part of his plan.

Senator Paul Miller of Melbourne wants school districts that meet current school standards by January 1 to automatically be spared losing their high schools to consolidation.

Miller says he is now willing to consider giving up a provision in his bill that would give districts that survive the first wave of consolidation until January 2006 to meet new standards.

Huckabee's plan to consolidate high schools in districts with fewer than 1500 students next year has passed the Senate Education Committee. The sponsor, Senator Jim Argue of Little Rock, says he and Miller have held preliminary discussions.

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