Arkansas has not made education its “first priority” as required by a 2002 state supreme court decision in a school finance lawsuit, a special investigation concludes.
The report, commissioned by the state’s high court, criticizes legislators for holding per-pupil spending steady in fiscal 2005, despite an anticipated state surplus of more than $100 million.
In 2002, the state supreme court in Lake View School District No. 25 v. Huckabee declared Arkansas’ school aid system unconstitutional.(“Court Orders Arkansas To Fix K-12 Funding,” Dec. 4, 2002)
In the following two years, the legislature approved more money for education and a preference for schools in funding decisions. Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican, said in a statement that the report is based on conclusions that are “factually incorrect.” He added that he assumed the case was over when the court ruled last year that the state had done an adequate job addressing funding issues.
A version of this article appeared in the October 12, 2005 edition of Education Week