Arkansas Panel Waits to Make Budget Recommendation

Last Updated: September 28, 2010

This article appeared in the September 2010 Rural Policy Matters.

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An Arkansas legislative committee charged with determining the adequacy of student funding in the state has postponed making its annual recommendation in order to do more study.

The Joint Adequacy Evaluation Oversight Subcommittee meets annually to make a report to the Education Committees of the state legislature on what constitutes an adequate education and how much funding is needed. That report was due September 1 and is used by the Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee during fall budget hearings.

Initially the Subcommittee voted to recommend increasing per-pupil spending by 2.5% in fiscal year 2012, a $69 million total increase, and by 2.9% in fiscal year 2013.

However, one week later, the Subcommittee expunged its initial vote and submitted the annual report without specific budget numbers. The committee will make its financial recommendations by November 1, 2010.

At issue is whether to base the recommendation on the Consumer Price Index or the government price index factor. Both are measures of inflationary trends. Last year the Subcommittee recommended an increase between the two factors.

Once the determination is made, the legislature must fund that amount in order to remain compliant with the state constitution as interpreted by the Lake View school funding decisions.

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