School accountability bill expected to go to governor

(January 9, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- A bill enacting tough new school accountability measures is expected to land on Governor Huckabee's desk soon. The bill was overwhelmingly passed in the state House yesterday. The Senate needs to sign off on a minor amendment before it goes to the governor's office. The business community supports the bill as a condition for increasing taxes to pay for court-ordered education reforms. Meanwhile, talks on school consolidation, the thorniest issue of the special session, took on new urgency. This came as a realization settled over the Capitol that the state Supreme Court could take a more direct role in overhauling what it declared an unconstitutional public education system. The court scheduled oral arguments for January 22nd to, among other things, determine whether the state has complied with the order. The House voted Tuesday to remove a 500-student enrollment minimum from Huckabee's chool restructuring plan.