$847 Million Price Tag

September 3, 2003  -- Posted at 7:51 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.  --A report detailing what Arkansas may have to spend to improve public education estimates the annual price tag to be 847 (m) million dollars.

In filing the report Tuesday, consultants said the total rose by 22 (m) million dollars after fine tuning of the budget and formula recommendations. The new education funding recommended in the more than 300-page report would raise the state's annual education budget to two-point-four (b) billion dollars.

A panel studying the building and equipment needs of school districts has yet to finish its report and those improvement costs are also expected to be considerable. Under the 847 (m) million dollars in new spending, the state would pay teachers more and hire more teachers and pay for preschool for poor children.

The report included an estimated funding increase for each of Arkansas' 308 school districts. Most school districts would receive an additional 14-hundred dollars per student each year.

Governor Huckabee says he'll call a special legislative session to start December eighth in hope of finalizing improvements.

The state is under a January first deadline set by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

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