Huckabee Fears Arkansas' School Funding Woes Could Hurt a Potential Presidential Bid

MARCH 24, 2006 - Posted at 5:36 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Huckabee said today in Chicago that a long-running school funding battle might hurt a potential presidential bid in 2008.

But he said his primary concern as governor is addressing Arkansas' troubled public education system.

Asked whether the state's school funding issue might harm a possible run for president, Huckabee told The Associated Press, "It might."

But the governor says he has a job to do right now: complying with a court order to make Arkansas schools constitutional.

Huckabee spoke after an address to the National Arts Education Association in Chicago.

Arkansas faces a December 1 deadline to address shortcomings in its school funding formula after a state Supreme Court ruling called the current system inadequate.

The governor has said he hopes to call a special session starting April 3 and is distributing draft legislation calling for $139 million in additional funding, plus another $130 million to improve school facilities.

Some legislators, including Senator Gilbert Baker have said the price tag is too high and that work should wait until a study on what constitutes an adequate education is completed this fall.

Huckabee says the price tag is justified.

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