Black caucus calls for more money for poor districts

(September 16, 2003) - (Helena-AP) -- Black state legislators are calling for education reforms to help low-performing schools in the Delta, but some warn that it's more important to take care of children than school districts. The Legislative Black Caucus held a community forum on education yesterday in Helena. Among the caucus' concerns were providing more money for schools with the highest numbers of students below the poverty level and funding reforms through a combination of sources rather than a sales tax alone. Experts estimate Arkansas must spend 847 (m) million dollars a year in new education funding to satisfy a state Supreme Court decision that the state's public school system is unconstitutionally bad. Governor Huckabee has said he will call legislators to meet in special session on December eighth to consider education reforms and how to fund them. The court set a January deadline for the state to overhaul public education.