Some Legislators Doubt Estimate on School Funding Shortfall

APRIL 7, 2004 - Posted at 7:19 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Some lawmakers are questioning a state office's projected $86.5 million shortfall in the public school funding for fiscal year 2005-06.

The shortfall was calculated by the state Bureau of Legislative Research last month, based partly on the state's plan to use money from nonrecurring sources to pay for education improvements.  The projection is also based on additional education improvements not yet implemented by the Legislature.  The category includes incentives for teachers to teach certain subjects and places.

Lawmakers expressed their doubts about the shortfall yesterday at the Arkansas Legislative Council's Higher Education Subcommittee meeting.

Other areas of state government will have to be cut if the $370 million tax increase enacted by the Legislature during the special session doesn't cover the costs of primary and secondary education improvements.

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