August 4, 2003 - Posted at: 5:59 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Governor Huckabee says he is more optimistic about education reform than he has been in months.
The governor says despite the lack of a breakthrough on the issue, he feels the state's residents are beginning to realize what a serious issue the court-ordered reforms are.
But he says he is no closer to calling a special session to address the state Supreme Court order for sweeping public education improvements. Huckabee says continuing resistance to his plan to merge some high schools in districts that cannot meet higher standards made a planned September special session unlikely.
Huckabee is warning patrons of larger districts for that they would have to pay much higher taxes for education reform with little or none of the money going to their schools without school district restructuring.
But the coordinator of a statewide group to save small school districts says the governor is taking the wrong approach in his tax argument and that citizens of the state should have a broader view.