Testimony Limited at School Funding Hearings

JULY 8, 2005 - Posted at 7:40 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Supreme Court masters gathering information on the inadequacy of school funding for the coming school year are limiting information they will get from school districts.

Dozens of eastern Arkansas school districts were told Thursday that they must rely on a single district, Barton-Lexa, to present their case.

The masters named by the high court to gather information about the state's school-funding plans said the district would not be allowed to participate in hearings scheduled to begin later this month. Former Chief Justice Bradley Jesson issued an order that turned down a request by the Forrest City School District and 33 others to participate.

The Barton-Lexa district is the successor to the Lake View School District that successfully challenged the state's school funding system in a 1992 lawsuit. Jesson ruled that Barton-Lexa represents all plaintiffs in the class action, including the Forrest City districts and the others.

He also turned down requests to participate by lawyers representing the Alma and Fort Smith districts.

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