Legislators Dismayed by High Court Ruling

DECEMBER 15, 2005 - Posted at 4:53 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Senate President Jim Argue says he is disappointed by today's ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court that the Legislature needs to do more to improve public schools.  But Argue says he is pleased to see that justices didn't order specific funding levels, as some districts requested.  The Democrat from Little Rock worked closely with Governor Huckabee earlier in trying to develop a plan to improve the schools.

House Speaker Bill Stovall, a Democrat from Quitman, says he believes justices overstepped their bounds.  Stovall says the court wants to control funding levels for state education.  Stovall says he believes that setting the funding level is strictly the responsibility of the General Assembly.

David Matthews, an attorney representing the Rogers School District, says he hopes the Legislature will meet before the end of the school year.  That way, Matthews says schools will be able to use reserve funds for programs they haven't been able to fund adequately.

Matthews says that if the Legislature waits until December 2006 to make changes, the current school year would end without additional money reaching the districts.

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