School Facilities Funding Expected to Dominate Week at Capitol

MARCH 28, 2005 - Posted at 7:40 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Legislation to begin funding court-ordered public school building repairs is expected to be presented in the Senate Education Committee this week.  The move could signal the beginning of the end of the legislative session that began January 10.

The House gave its approval last week to a package of bills that would create a ten-year program designed to help the state complete a court-ordered overhaul of public school buildings.

The legislation, which earlier passed the Senate, sets up a framework for the state and school districts to bring buildings statewide up to a constitutionally adequate standard.  The Senate is expected to concur in amendments as early as this week and send the bills to Governor Huckabee.

The move clears the way for legislators to tackle the key issue of the session - finding approximately $150 million to address immediate school facilities needs over the next two years.  Legislators also have to set up a funding formula for financing future construction needs that could total more than $2 billion over the next decade.

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