Governor willing to testify

(February 10, 2004) — (Little Rock-AP) -- Governor Huckabee is volunteering to testify before special masters evaluating Arkansas' compliance with a court order to reform public education. A lawyer who started the education case also lists the governor as a potential witness - if the masters hear testimony. Potential witness lists were among documents filed with the special masters - former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Brad Jesson and former Justice David Newbern - yesterday. Huckabee's filing also lists, among other things, various versions of his failed proposals to restructure public education and the itinerary of his statewide travels last summer to promote his education agenda. In a special session that ended Friday, the Legislature voted to merge the administrations of districts with fewer than 350 students, adopted tougher accountability measures and passed nearly 400 million dollars in new taxes to pay for education improvements. The state Supreme Court - which ordered a public education overhaul - appointed the special masters. Bill Lewellen, a former lawyer for the Lake View School District whose motion prompted the high court to appoint the special masters, listed Huckabee as a potential witness. Lewellen also listed top legislative leaders, the state Education Department director, state Chamber of Commerce chairman and small school superintendents.