High Court Names Special Masters to Clean Up Education Mess

February 3, 2004 - Posted at 10:31 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Supreme Court today named two former justices as special masters to oversee how the state puts in place improvements to its unconstitutional public education system.

The court named former chief justice Bradley Jesson and former associate justice David Newbern.  The high court instructed the two to evaluate actions by the Legislature and the governor to comply with the court's 2002 order to overhaul the schools.

The court directed the two former justices to examine official actions both before and after its January 1, 2004, deadline to bring the system up to constitutional standards.

The high court reclaimed control of the Lake View School District school funding case on January 22.  The justices concluded the state failed to comply with its order to remedy funding deficiencies.

Since then, the Legislature has passed a number of bills designed to improve the schools.  New laws would consolidate school districts with fewer than 350 students by July 1, establish a new school-funding formula, and hold the education system accountable for resources devoted to the schools.

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