April 4, 2003
Posted at: 3:19 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A senate committee approved a bill Friday that would result in more than a third of Arkansas' 310 school districts having to ask their local residents to pay more property taxes.
Some school districts receive extra state money to help them pay debts on capital-improvement projects. At the same time, they are required by state law to levy 25 mills for property taxes to pay for school maintenance and operations.
But the Attorney General's opinion of the law and a state supreme court ruling that found the school funding formula unconstitutional says any extra money for debt service can't be used toward the 25-mill requirement.
Senator Jim Argue of Little Rock says the bill approved today is necessary to bring all school districts in compliance with the law and the court ruling. The measure says districts can't use the extra state money to meet the 25-mill requirement.
The bill also says districts can't use mills dedicated for debt service to meet the 25-mill requirement. If the bill becomes law, voters in 111 school districts will have to ask voters to increase their districts' millage rates.