Education reform initiative?

(August 7, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- Governor Huckabee says he would rather put his school district restructuring plan to a public vote rather than risk a failed legislative effort to address court-ordered school reforms. He says the push for a ballot initiative is gaining steam as a stalemate on school reform drags on. Speaking to the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators yesterday, Huckabee said he is working toward a legislative solution and also preparing for a ballot push if he and the Legislature can't agree. But some legislators frown on the idea of a ballot initiative and say it is more likely that the Legislature will pass analternative to the governor's plan. House Speaker Herschel Cleveland says Huckabee would be "plunging the state down a cliff" by offering an initiated act. Huckabee says he has NOT put a deadline on deciding whether to pursue a ballot initiative, but he cannot wait until January -- the state Supreme Court deadline for finding school reform solutions. He says the court likely would look more favorably on a detailed initiative on the November 2004 general election ballot than a failed special session to address the issue.