Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

TOP STORY >> Cabot is seeking more for schools

IN SHORT: Proposed funding plan would mean an $800,000 cut, but Beebe would get more.
By Sara Greene
Leader staff writer

Cabot School Superintendent Frank Holman is appealing to district residents to call legislators and ask them to vote against House Bills 2508 and 2509 and companion Senate Bill 970, which would reduce funding for Cabot Schools.

Holman said the facilities funding formula in the bills will take away $800,000 from Cabot Public Schools.

In a mass e-mail sent Monday from the Cabot Chamber of Commerce, Holman urged residents to call state Reps. Susan Shulte, Lenville Evans and state Sen. Bobby Glover to stop the bills from passing.

The current facilities funding formula uses a wealth-index to determine how much the state would distribute to the districts.

“This is a political method of redistributing facilities funding to powerful legislator’s districts without consideration of equity, adequacy and fairness. We will definitely be back to the Supreme Court as a result of these bills passing,” Holman said in the e-mail.

“I can’t support that bill,” said Sen. Glover. “The sponsors of those bills have turned the tables on schools like Cabot and Alma. The bill takes money away from poorer schools.”

“There’s been talk of a lawsuit if they pass the bill because what is in that bill now is not what the federal government instructed our state to do. All the calls I’ve received about this funding formula have been negative,” Glover said.

Holman is asking Glover to propose an impact study of all the districts in Arkansas to see how the bills would affect current and future debt payments.

But Beebe Public Schools would benefit from the bills being considered, but officials don’t how much yet.

“We would actually gain from the current bills and we’re among some of the poorest districts in the state,” said Belinda Shook, assistant superintendent at Beebe Public Schools who will become superintendent in July.