Anti-Consolidation Rally Illegal?

December 11, 2003  -- Posted at 7:22 AM CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR  --Few people at the state Capitol seem greatly concerned at a suggestion that rural schools may have broken state law by busing hundreds of students to an anti-consolidation rally.

More than 2,500 rural school patrons, teachers and students showed up at the rally Monday, the opening day of the special session on education reform.

Organizers, including an English teacher at Valley Springs, billed the rally as a field trip for the students. Stuart Soffer, a White Hall retiree and a former substitute teacher, says the schools broke state law by using taxpayer-funded resources and students for what Soffer calls political lobbying.

He wants an attorney general's opinion. Soffer wants the opinion to focus on three specific statutes, which Soffer thinks prohibit the use of school buses or instructional time for political rallies.

Copyright 2003.  Associated Press. All Rights  reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.