Cost Estimates Continue to Rise for Improving School Buildings

November 20, 2003 - Posted at 11:33 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Cost estimates continue to balloon in the state's education reform debate.  Construction experts asked legislators today for an additional $119 million to assess the condition of the state's 5,700 public school buildings.

Officials say the money would also go to maintain the buildings through the next year.  Legislators would need to appropriate the money in a special session planned for December 8.

The cost of repairing the state's crumbling public school buildings could exceed $1 billion.  That's on top of $847 million per year that experts say is needed for raising academic standards.

Legislators learned today of the additional costs.  A task force today gave a report to a committee studying educational facilities.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)