Back to school -- UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Back to school -- UPDATE

Posted By on Tue, Feb 20, 2007 at 5:56 PM

With the grocery tax cut, an increase in the homestead tax exemption due for signing tomorrow and progress being made on an income tax cut for the poor (and how could I forget the tax break for manufacturers, who otherwise might jerk up their paper mills and move them to Iowa), it is at last time for education.

My apologies at the outset. I've had a funeral, a business meeting outside the office and closing day on the print edition. So blogging has been behind and about all I know for sure is that Gov. Beebe's education legislation was filed today, here and that the work of the adequacy study also was filed here. (TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE: Some bad links have been fixed.) I wasn't able to nail down a full interpretation before I had to leave the office, so I'm hoping an informed legislator or someone else in the blogging community might be on-line with a quick primer.

I do know this much: the increase per pupil is $108 the first year of the budget cycle, an increase of less than 2 percent from the current $5,662, and then it will rise $106 the next year, again well below 2 percent. But these increases also include money that could be one-time expenditures, not continuing support, so it might not even be so grand as it seems.

The important thing is that the legislature has declared this amount meets the adequacy test of the Supreme Court. And, in truth, that's for the legislature to decide. What will it pay for? Is it sufficient to hire quality teachers in the Delta and teacher the 38 high school units everywhere? That's not so clear. Time will tell.

By way of comparison, please note that legislators have given themselves a 2 percent raise in each of the next two years of the budget cycle, 4.2 percent more over two years compared with 3.5 percent in a shaky increase, at least as to continuing value, for spending on kids. So we know that to achieve adequacy in education requires less of a raise than your legislators require.

FUN WITH MATH: It's all how you spin it, see? Here's the lead on Stephens Media, perfectly accurate:

Legislation that would increase puiblic school funding by more than $200 per student over the next two years was filed Tuesday by the chairman of House Education Committee.

But did anybody think to write a lead on the legislative pay raise story earlier this sessions that said "Legislation that would increase legislative pay by more than $560 per legislator over the next two years was filed Tuesday by the chairman of the Joint Budget Committee."

UPDATE: I still don't think we've seen the last analysis of these numbers. A legislator we trust says the numbers above -- which aren't so impressive -- are even less impressive than they appear. I think school people will say the effort is lacking. But I think they'll be shouting in the wind and, legally, the effort seems likely to pass muster. Is this a history-repeating start of a gradually diminishing effort? It doesn't take a crystal ball.

Rep. Harrelson's blog offers a cautious assessment of the two bills, read in tandem.


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Now, the main event

    I write Tuesday morning, before polls close on primary and judicial election contests.
    • May 24, 2018
  • Police identify remains as those of Ebby Steppach

    KARK/Fox 16 reports that Little Rock police have identified skeletal remains found Tuesday in a west Little Rock park as those of Ebby Steppach, the 17-year-old who's been missing since her car was found in that park abandoned in 2015.
    • May 23, 2018
  • UAMS presents balanced budget

    UAMS, pressed by financial problems for several years, told the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees today that it had a $1.5 billion operating budget that doesn't call for deficit spending.
    • May 23, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Donald Trump declares war on Hillary Clinton's marriage

    Donald Trump gave a remarkable interview to the New York Times yesterday in which he declared open season on the marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton's past infidelity. Seems like a loser, but I've been wrong before.
    • Oct 1, 2016
  • Use of solar on the rise in Arkansas

    With a pivotal ruling expected any day now from the Public Service Commission, Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business reports on the increase in Arkansans adding solar generation units on their homes and business.
    • Apr 13, 2018
  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation