LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A looming hike in premiums for 47,000 teachers and a lawsuit pending before the state's highest court are reminders that six years after the end of the Lake View case, Arkansas may not be finished with its school funding battles.
After a legislative session that was dominated by health care, tax cuts and social issues, lawmakers are facing the possibility of returning to the state Capitol for the first school-related special session since 2006 - this time dealing with teacher insurance. At the same time, a northwest Arkansas school district's efforts to revive a challenge to Arkansas' school funding system could pose even more problems for them later.
Though Arkansas is required to fund education first, school issues haven't dominated the Legislature's attention as much as they did during sessions when lawmakers enacted reforms in response to the Lake View school funding case. The tiny Lake View School District sued the state in 1992, challenging the constitutionality of a system that allowed wide funding disparities between wealthy districts and poor ones. The case ended in 2007 after justices ruled that Arkansas had finally funded its schools adequately.
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