The Arkansas Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that seeks to increase spending on public school districts, although the proposed hike would still only amount to one-third of the recommended raise.
The legislation, if signed into law, would significantly boost the state’s current per-pupil spending, although the amount remains far below the recommended level of funding.
The bill, which was proposed by Republican Senator Jim Hendren, would increase the per-pupil spending from the current $6,644 to $7,400. However, this is still less than the $8,000 figure recommended by the state’s own task force on school funding.
The proposed bill would also increase the amount of money allocated for students with special needs and for early childhood education, although the exact amount remains to be determined.
Proponents of the bill argue that it would help close the funding gap between Arkansas and the rest of the country. The state currently ranks 49th in the nation in terms of per-pupil spending, and the proposed increase would help bring it closer to the national average.
However, opponents argue that the bill does not go far enough to ensure that all students in the state receive a quality education. They point out that the proposed funding is still significantly lower than what is recommended, and that this will likely lead to inadequate resources for many schools.
It remains to be seen whether the bill will be signed into law, but if it is, it will mark a major shift in the state’s approach to school funding. While the proposed increase is smaller than recommended, it could still have a meaningful impact on the educational opportunities available to students across the state.