Education Board members vent

(January 13, 2004) — (Little Rock-AP) -- State Board of Education member Luke Gordy chastised the Arkansas Legislature yesterday for the way it's handled a court order to make public schools more equitable during a six-week special session. Gordy said he was frustrated that the Legislature has maintained an obstructionist position to Governor Huckabee's proposal to consolidate smaller schools. Another board member, Calvin King, used the discussion about dissolving the 107-student Perry-Casa district into the 520-student Ola district to pitch an even more extensive consolidation effort. Huckabee had offered a plan in December to consolidate all school districts with fewer than 500 students, but legislators failed to act before a January 1 deadline and Huckabee allies declared the governor's consolidation plan dead last week. Meanwhile, Gordy said the search for a new state director of education to replace Ray Simon is still up in the air. Gordy didn't give a final deadline to hire a new director. Simon left in October to become assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education.