Masters Say Not Enough Done, Make No Major Recommendations for Arkansas Schools

APRIL 2, 2004 - Posted at 5:15 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A pair of Supreme Court masters say Arkansas has yet to fully define what constitutes an "adequate" public school education.  In a report to the Supreme Court, the masters also say that legislative efforts to reform the state's 450,000-student school system fell short in some areas.

After two months of review, masters Bradley Jesson and David Newbern had no specific recommendations to the court regarding key issues such as consolidation, teacher pay or school buildings.  They also wouldn't say whether the Supreme Court should continue to monitor the school system.

The Supreme Court in 2002 found Arkansas' school system unconstitutional and gave the state until this January 1 to fix it.  The special masters were named to analyze what the state had done.

The masters do not make a recommendation about whether the Supreme Court should maintain continued jurisdiction, as various parties had recommended.  They said "The issue is solely for the court to decide."

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