Senator Says Changes Not Necessary to School Facilities Formula

FEBRUARY 28, 2006 - Posted at 4:03 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A state Senate leader said today he doesn't think Arkansas will need to change its formula for funding school building improvements.

Senate President Jim Argue made the statement today at a meeting of the Academic Facilities Oversight Committee.

But last year, the state Supreme Court ruling said building improvements were "grossly underfunded."

Hearings began earlier this month to address the Supreme Court's December 15 decision.  Once completed, legislators plan to compile a report with recommended legislation for a special session.

At today's hearing, legislators focused on the index used to calculate how much state assistance school districts receive for building construction.

The wealth index, adopted by the Legislature last year, provides aid to school districts for future construction based on factors such as local property value and number of students in the district.

Representative Will Bond said that the state needs to consider adding an appeals process for districts that may disagree with the distribution of funding based on the current index.

Bond said such a proposal could be considered during a special session expected later this year.

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