Standoff in the Legislature - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Little Rock — Melissa Simas Reports

Standoff in the Legislature

The Countdown for the Classroom continues with only 3 days left for Arkansas legislators to remedy the educational problems, and so far, tax payers have spent several thousand dollars per day for a special session that has resulted in what seems to be a standoff between the House and Senate.

There are 2 opposing plans concerning school consolidation:

The House has a bill that would forestall any consolidation for at least 2 years. Another bill in the House would protect 30 of the smallest school districts from closure, even if the Governor's plan gets through the legislature.

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, a bill exists that would consolidate school districts with fewer than 500 students.

State Representative Don House of Walnut Ridge expects a compromise will be reached on this issue, but after the January 1st deadline.

"I think any plan that is out there today is going to consolidate some schools," said House.

But will this compromise be acceptable for the State Supreme Court, considering it may not make the deadline?

Well, there is another possible way to appease the higher court.

According to State Representative House, a temporary funding formula will likely pass by the end of the week.

"The court is serious," said House. "I do not think that a stop-gap measure is satisfactory. I do in fact think that a stop-gap measure might cause them to say it's o.k., we're going to give you a few more days."

Brookland School Superintendent Gene Goza has spent several days monitoring the legislature during the special session. He believes lawmakers need to hit the books themselves.

"We're right where we were a year ago," said Goza. "There's been very little progress made that I can see."

And so the question now remains , what will happen if the court ends up possibly running the state's educational system?

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