State Considering Whether to Accept Money from Troubled Region 8 School

FEBRUARY 10, 2006 - Posted at 7:56 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A north-central Arkansas community has raised $390,000 to pay off its school district's debts.  But the state's top education official said yesterday he didn't know if the state can legally accept the money.

The Arkansas Board of Education will consider on Monday whether to accept the donation from supporters of the financially strapped Midland School District.  The state took over the school district last month because of its financial problems.

Arkansas Education Commissioner Ken James told a legislative panel yesterday of the fund-raising effort in the Midland community.  James said he didn't know if the state could legally accept the private donation, but if it can, the district still must also provide a plan to improve its finances.

He said district officials would have to demonstrate they have a viable plan that they won't get back into the same situation they were in to begin with.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)