Special Session May Be Reconvened to Refine Consolidation Law

FEBRUARY 26, 2004 - Posted at 4:17 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Some legislators say lawmakers may have to reconvene the special session next week to more clearly state their intentions on consolidation.

In the recent special session, the Legislature enacted a law requiring the consolidation of school districts with fewer than 350 students.

Legislative leaders told the state's interim education director today that they are worried about proposed regulations that would let the state Board of Education reject voluntary consolidation requests if it does not consider the mergers for the "betterment of education."

Interim Director Tom Courtway earlier today withdrew the proposed regulations from consideration by the Legislative Council's Administrative Rules and Regulations Committee.  Courtway says he'll rework the wording of that rule and others and bring the package back to the committee for consideration Wednesday.

The skeleton crew of legislators is due back a day later to take up house cleaning matters and formally end the special session.  But legislative leaders could decide to bring the entire Legislature back to consider additional legislation.

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