Changes to Arkansas Consolidation Law Proposed

Last Updated: February 24, 2011

This article appeared in the February 2011 Rural Policy Matters.

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A state representative from Marvell, Arkansas, located in the Mississippi Delta in the eastern region of the state, has filed a bill that would give school districts more time to avoid consolidation. Currently, Arkansas law gives the State Board of Education authority to place districts on a “fiscal distress” or “academic distress” watch list. After a district has been on one of those lists for two years, the Board must make a recommendation that the district be consolidated, or it must present detailed findings explaining why it is not making that recommendation.

Representative Clark Hall says those time limits are “more hindrance than help.” His bill removes the requirement that the State Board take action on these districts after two years, and leaves the process open-ended. State Education Department Commissioner Tom Kimbrell supports the bill, stating that districts may need longer to resolve financial problems during this time of recession.

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Text of the bill

Read more from the February 2011 Rural Policy Matters.