Education Board Members Express Frustration with Lawmakers

January 12, 2004 - Posted at 4:12 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Some members of the state Board of Education expressed frustration today with the way legislators have handled a court order to make public schools more equitable.

Board member Luke Gordy chastised the Arkansas Legislature as it entered the sixth week of a special session.

Governor Mike Huckabee had offered a plan in December to consolidate all school districts with fewer than 500 students, but legislators failed to act before a January 1 deadline and Huckabee allies declared the governor's consolidation plan dead last week.

Another board member, Calvin King, used the discussion about dissolving the 107-student Perry-Casa district into the 520-student Ola district to pitch an even more extensive consolidation effort.

Meanwhile, Gordy said the search for a new state director of education to replace Ray Simon is still up in the air.  Gordy didn't give a final deadline to hire a new director.

Simon left in October to become assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education.

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