February 2, 2004 - Posted at 1:34 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A legislative committee today voted down a bill to prohibit school districts from using taxpayer money to sue the state over actions taken during the current special session. Representative Chris Thyer of Jonesboro says a small-school superintendent's threat to sue over consolidation prompted him to introduce the legislation. Thyer says districts still could hire lawyers to represent them on a contingency basis, or have a wealthy local benefactor pay attorney's fees. Or, Thyer suggests local districts could hold bake sales or other fundraisers to pay a lawyer.
Plainview-Rover Superintendent Jimmy Cunningham, who's also president of the Arkansas Rural Education Association, objected to the legislator dictating how local taxpayers may choose to spend discretionary school funds. The bill failed on a voice vote of the House Education Committee.