Consolidation Bill Passes House Education Committee

January 5, 2004 — Posted at 6:55 p.m.

LITTLE ROCK, AR — Sponsors of Senate Bill 28 congratulated themselves today on mustering enough votes to move the consolidation bill from committee to the house floor.

State Representative Calvin Johnson co-sponsored the bill.

"I pretty well knew where various members were regarding their vote, but from one day to the next, you never know because there are a lot of variables out there, but I'm very pleased to know that we projected what was reality," said Johnson.

State Representative Paul Bookout of Jonesboro says the House Education Committee took a step in the right direction today.

"I think there will be some compromises made on this particular bill before it comes to the house for a vote," said Bookout.

Even before the vote was taken, supporters and opponents of the bill voiced their last minute opinions about the future of education in the state.

State Representative Dwight Fite compared the current education debate to the abortion debate, saying both sides will never agree on this issue.

"We have this small school that has turned out a professional football player, a nuclear physicist, and a metropolitan opera singer, so don't tell me you can't have success in small districts," said Fite.

The future of small school districts now rests in the hands of the entire House of Representatives. Sponsors of the bill say they have additional convincing to do, and as for school superintendents from small school districts, they're just wondering what they will do.

"In my opinion I think it's going to be easier to get it out of the house than it was to get it out of this committee," said Representative Johnson.