News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup

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New Study Questions KERA's Influence

Almost 10 years after its adoption, Kentucky's wide-ranging education reform law has dramatically equalized school funding statewide, but has failed to make a big impact on student achievement, a recent study has found.

In an analysis of the effects of the 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act recently published in the Kentucky Annual Economic Report, a professor of economics at the University of Kentucky asserts that the state's higher school spending levels have not led to significant gains on national tests or substantial improvements in the dropout rate. The results in the independently published report are "hard to call encouraging," researcher William H. Hoyt said in an interview.

But Jim Parks, a spokesman for the state education department, said equalizing funding in a state as diverse as Kentucky can be considered a big achievement in itself.

--Jessica L. Sandham

Commission Orders Payment to Arkansas Teachers

The Arkansas State Claims Commission has ordered the state to award $7.1 million to teachers in more than 230 school districts because of errors in applying the state's old school funding formula.

The funding formula, which was replaced in 1995, mandated that 56 percent of a district's state funding be paid to teachers. Because the state education department misapplied the funding formula, some districts received more money than they were entitled to and others received less during the 1989-90, 1990-91, and 1991-92 school years, the commission found.

The Arkansas legislature is expected to review last month's commission ruling to determine how to pay the $7.1 million, according to Michelle Huff, a Hardy, Ark., lawyer who represented the teachers in the claims process.

The state attorney general's office has not decided whether to appeal the decision.

--Karen L. Abercrombie

Vol. 18, Issue 25, Page 28

Published in Print: March 3, 1999, as News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
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