Consolidation Opponents Sense Victory

January 5, 2004 - Posted at 8:09 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Opponents of consolidating school districts say they are confident they have successfully made their arguments that combining school districts should not be part of a school reform plan.

The Legislature returns to special session today after missing a court deadline for developing a plan to improve Arkansas' public schools.

Lavina Graham, president of Valley Springs-based Save Our Schools, says she feels there is no popular desire for coalition of small school districts.

But state Senator Jim Argue of Little Rock, the Legislature's leading consolidation advocate, said he's not giving up his push to reduce Arkansas' 308 school districts.  Argue says the structure of public schools needs to be changed, even though a new Senate funding proposal would eliminate the need for consolidation.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)