Lawmakers Reach Compromise on School Funding, Special Session Likely Next Week

MARCH 30, 2006 - Posted at 4:14 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Senate leaders have announced a compromise on a set of education proposals they said would likely send them into a special session next week.

Arkansas Senate President Pro Tem Jim Argue and Jack Critcher (D-Batesville), the Senate's leader for the 2007 session, announced in a news conference today that they had at least 26 votes among the 34 members of the Senate.

Under the compromise, Arkansas' 251 school districts would receive an additional $132.5 million for the next two years.

Critcher and Argue also said the recommendations would include an appropration of $70 million to repair crumbling school buildings in the state.  The additional money for facilities would still require approval from the legislative council.

Governor Mike Huckabee has said he wants to call a special session for Monday to address a state Supreme Court ruling that Arkansas still hasn't adequately funded its school districts.  The governor has scheduled a 1 p.m. conference call with legislators tomorrow to discuss the propspective session.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)