July 14, 2003 - Posted at: 2:18 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A special legislative committee Monday began a three-day meeting to discuss consultant recommendations on how to improve public schools.
Preliminary estimates put the cost of increased school staffing and teacher salaries at between $340 million and $890 million per year.
The consultants were hired to guide the committee in helping the state reform its public education system, as required by the Arkansas Supreme Court. The consultants are to provide legislators with a final report, which will include a cost analysis, by September 1.
Legislators are under a January 1 deadline set by the Arkansas Supreme Court to improve the system so the state's $450,000 public school children receive an adequate education.
Leaders of the Joint Legislative Committee on Educational Adequacy said information provided by the consultants in this week's meeting will guide efforts to reach an agreement.