Arkansas Adequacy Level Set

Last Updated: November 26, 2010

This article appeared in the November 2010 Rural Policy Matters.

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A panel of Arkansas legislators is recommending an increase in school funding of 2% to 2.4% in the next state budget. The increase would provide an additional $60 million for schools.

The Joint Adequacy Evaluation Oversight Subcommittee, responsible for making the recommendation, is composed of members of the education committees of the Arkansas House and Senate. It must determine annually an adequate level of funding for schools to satisfy provisions of the Lake View school finance lawsuit. The next step is for the governor and legislators to use the recommendation in budget proposals.

The tough economic times made this annual determination more challenging than usual. The Subcommittee had initially recommended that funding be raised by 2.5% based on one set of inflation factors. But it later reversed itself after members questioned whether such a large increase was necessary. (See RSFN coverage here:

During the last round of deliberations, the Department of Finance and Administration presented a recommendation to the panel to increase funding by 1.86%. The difference in total funding between 1.86% and 2.4% is about $9 million, a significant amount in lean budget years. Now that the Subcommittee’s recommendation has been made, Arkansas must increase funding by at least 2%.

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