Region 8 Schools Decide How They Will use Additional Funds

April 12, 2006 -- Posted at 4:41 p.m. CST


JONESBORO, AR -- For Brookland Public Schools and the Westside Consolidated School District, the extra funding being provided by the state government is needed.


“With any school, additional finances are needed to help us achieve the goals we set forth,” said Kevin McGaughey, Assistant Superintendent at Brookland Schools.


Westside will receive over $400,000 while Brookland will get just over 100 thousand.


Money they plan on putting to good use.


“We are a growing district and we’re looking at expansion.  Adding some additional classrooms in another year, so the possibility could be for classrooms and additional land,” said McGaughey.


The state has several unfunded mandates that schools must implement.  This additional funding will help them in that area as well.


“All of those laws have been passed down to the schools without additional funding, so we have to come up with additional expenses,” said McGaughey.


“Those are costs that we have absorbed this year, just as other Arkansas districts have.  This money that we’re getting will help reimburse us for those costs,” said Dr. James Best, Superintendent at Westside Consolidated Schools.


One goal Westside and Brookland share is the desire to increase teacher salaries.


“We’re looking at an about 4% raise there, so we’re already issuing raises,” said McGaughey.


“We want to have a competitive pay scale for our employees in the school district,” said Dr. Best.


Educators hope the additional funding provided by the state legislature will go to satisfy the ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court.


The ruling in 2002 by the Arkansas Supreme Court regarding the Lake View School District found that the education our children are receiving is unconstitutional.


Arkansas legislators have been working for more than three years to rectify the problem.


“I think the legislature did a great job.  I think our local northeast Arkansas representatives did a great job of representing the school districts here,” said Dr. Best.