Gubernatorial Candidates Talk Up Local Control at Education Conference

AUGUST 3, 2006 - Posted at 7:32 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Local control of schools was the focus when Democrat Mike Beebe and Republican Asa Hutchinson took their campaigns for governor before a group of Arkansas school administrators.

Hutchinson said yesterday he hoped the fight over whether to close rural Paron High School in Saline County would lead the state to change standards that are flexible for rural schools.  The former congressman said he was disappointed with the state Supreme Court's decision yesterday to dissolve a judge's order to keep the school open this fall.

Beebe, the state's attorney general, continued promoting a package of education proposals he introduced this week, including $40 million more for pre-kindergarten programs and need-based grants for college.  Beebe said his proposal to allow teachers to travel to other districts without losing benefits would help districts like Paron offer the state-mandated 38 more courses.

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