University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

This Week in the Arkansas Legislature

In The View from the OEP on March 5, 2013 at 8:51 am

Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to week 7 of the Arkansas Legislative Session. The committee agendas are getting longer as legislators file their legislative proposals by the March 11 deadline for bill-filing. There are two education issues that the legislative spectators, such as ourselves, are still expecting to be addressed this session: school funding and school choice. Arkansas Business has a nice summary of all the legislative issues that we are still expecting to be covered this session.

Also, you may remember a little something about a charter school bill, HB 1040, sponsored by Rep. Mark Biviano (R-Searcy), which would create a Charter School Commission. This bill hogged the limelight the first few weeks of the legislative session, but seems to have taken a back seat to all other legislation since that time. It’s still unclear whether the bill will go back to the committee. We did notice, however, that a similar bill was filed at the end of last week.

89thGeneralAssemblyNov9HB 1528, also sponsored by Representative Biviano and Senator Alan Clark, creates a 5-member charter authorizing board appointed by the Commissioner of Education. Rather than the State Board of Education making the determination about charter school authorization, renewal, and modification, this board—made up of Department of Education staff—will do so.

There are two Education Committee Meetings scheduled for this week. The first will be held on Tuesday on the House side, the second—the Senate Ed Committee—will be held on Wednesday. Both begin at 10 AM. You can live stream the House Education Committee meeting here beginning at 10:00 AM. In case you miss it, we will keep you posted on what happens.

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