Masters Say Framework Exists for Improved Schools, Review Needed

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Arkansas' public school system may soon be in the clear.

Special masters appointed by the state Supreme Court told justices yesterday that Arkansas now has the framework for a ``much improved Arkansas public education system.'' In their report to the court, the masters said a continuous review of its finances and standards will be required.

Masters David Newbern and Bradley Jesson said the state's fiscal surplus will help Arkansas fix dilapidated facilities and make ``our system of education one in which Arkansans may take pride.''

They noted that legislators, governors and adminstrators ``come and go,'' but that a recent ``awakening'' toward schools should ensure that Arkansas remains vigilant.

Justices in 2002 and 2005 declared Arkansas' means of supporting public schools inadequate and unbalanced. They reopened the case last December and asked Newbern and Jesson to evaluate the 450-thousand-student system for a third time.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)