Governor hopes for education agreement

(October 14, 2003) - (Little Rock-AP) -- Governor Huckabee says he hopes the Legislature can agree on a plan to improve Arkansas' public schools and says he is working to push his own proposal through a December special session. Huckabee told The Associated Press yesterday that he still considers an initiated act a reserve option and reiterated his pledge to take his own plan to voters if legislators fail to reach consensus on education reforms before the special session. The governor also defended the Omnibus Quality Education Act, passed by the Legislature this year, which gives the state tough new powers to act against schools in academic or financial distress. And Huckabee said he is concerned some legislators will move to repeal the act in a special session. Opponents of Huckabee's plan to overhaul the state's public education system view the measure as an effort to ease forced consolidation of schools.