Arkansas' Attorney General Comments On Supreme Court Justices' Recent Ruling on Education

JANUARY 22, 2004 -- Posted at 11:15pm

TRUMANN, AR - The State Supreme Court is stepping up pressure on state leaders to come to an agreement on education and do it quickly. Justices met yesterday to make an appointment to help that process along.

"Today the supreme court fired a second shot across the bow," said Mike Beebe, Attorney General of Arkansas.

The January First deadline to improve the state's education system has come and gone. The State Supreme Court heard oral arguments, including comments from Mike Beebe, as to why the deadline wasn't met.

Justices talked about what they wanted to do to to remedy the situation and made a decision the same day. It's a process that normally takes at least a week. The quick turn around is something Beebe says is unprecedented.

Beebe explained, "I'm not aware of it ever being done before. It signifies the courts additional impatience."

To help state leaders come to a faster conclusion, Supreme Court Justices will appoint a 'master'. That special judge will be a fact finder, and report back to the supreme court to make sure legislators' decisions are meeting the adequate and equitable education requirements.

"If legislature doesn't complete the work and the master is more engaged than just reviewing whether or not they've completed the work properly, then we'll be presenting evidence and testimony as to what the various options and remedies might be," added the Attorney General.

Mike Beebe explained to attendees of the Trumann Chamber of Commerce yearly banquet that state supreme court justices have changed the rules concerning spending and funding of the state's education system three times in the last 20 years. H says a decision on this latest ruling should come within the next two weeks.