House Speaker to File Competing Legislation Today on School Building Repairs

MARCH 1, 2005 - Posted at 7:44 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - House Speaker Bill Stovall is expected to file competing legislation today to counter a proposal he rejected yesterday that is aimed at helping school districts with hundreds of millions of dollars in building repairs.

Stovall said the proposal unfairly rewards the wealthier rapidly-growing districts and appeared to leave others behind.  Stovall said he planned to file competing legislation today.

Legislators are under a state Supreme Court mandate to develop a plan to bring crumbling public school buildings across Arkansas up to a constitutionally equitable and adequate standard.

The Senate proposal would allocate $150 million to school improvements over the next two years.  The money would be distributed to the state's 254 school districts based on a state wealth index, which would determine how much state money would go to construction projects based on the district's local wealth.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)