Thursday, February 11, 2010

Daily Radio Report


87th General Assembly

State of Arkansas


Day 4 of the 2010 Thursday

Fiscal Session February 11, 2010


This is Senator _____ reporting from the state Capitol with news of Thursday's activities in the Arkansas state Senate.

Aid to local school districts amounts to half of the state's general revenue fund, and is the major source of revenue for schools. School districts get more than twice as much revenue from the state as they get from local property taxes.

On Thursday the Senate worked on an appropriation of almost $2.7 billion for public education.

The 18-page bill has dozens of separate spending categories - foundation funding, bonus funding for isolated districts, funding for special needs students and funding of free or reduced price lunches for students from poor families.

The measure includes $10 million for distance learning and $15 million for special education in early childhood programs.

Money for advanced placement tests, teacher training and recruitment -- the bill funds just about everything that makes a school district function adequately.

Legislators began working on the school funding bill weeks ago, during budget hearings in January. We will probably put the final touches on the bill next week.

The other important appropriations to be considered during the fiscal session will authorize spending at the Department of Human Services, state prisons and institutions of higher education.

Here is an indication of how big and complex state government has become:

so far during the fiscal session, 274 separate appropriation bills have been filed. Each one authorizes a separate category of spending.

In many instances, appropriation bills include dozens of separate funding categories. In all, we will appropriate about $4.5 billion in general revenue spending next fiscal year.

From the state Capitol, this is Senator _____ wishing you a good day.

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