ERIC Number: ED412638
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Arkansas School Finance Plan--Unconstitutional Again.
Schoppmeyer, Martin W.
The Arkansas school finance equity suit titled "Lakeview vs. Tucker" was heard in 1994, and the state funding formula was declared unconstitutional. With much difficulty, a new law was passed to combine a number of previously categorical funds into the instructional budget. However, the constitutionality of the new law remains in question. The new act does away with all forms of weighting, which had included special education, vocational education, and education for the gifted and talented. The bill does tend to equalize expenditures per pupil among the districts with the notable exception being districts under a federal court order for desegregation. Ignoring them means that funds-per-pupil meet the Federal Range Ratio, which the proponents of the bill claim meets the test of equity. In fact, more is taken from the apparent equity in one district than in another. The new law violates vertical equity by setting caps on the number of students classified in each of the groups (special, vocational, gifted, or at-risk). The new law also makes Arkansas the only state in the nation where no funds are added for special education over the base amount. This is also probably true for vocational education and for gifted and talented education. Abandoning the weights of the previous law was an error since there are no longer any distinctions due to cost of exceptionality or vocational programs. The new law has been challenged in the courts, but the issue has not yet been resolved, and the constitutionality of the new funding approach remains in question. (SLD)
Descriptors: Budgeting, Categorical Aid, Constitutional Law, Educational Administration, Educational Equity (Finance), Educational Finance, Elementary Secondary Education, Equalization Aid, Expenditure per Student, Gifted, Legal Problems, School Districts, Special Education, State Legislation, State Programs, Vocational Education
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas