by Max Brantley
Lake View being the long-running case over constitutionality of public schools. This is the case thought settled until, following legislative default, the state Supreme Court took the extraordinary step of recalling its mandate and, after a report by special masters, ordering more work. A special sessioin followed and much, but not everything, was done.The final order was to take effect Dec. 1, ending court supervision of the case. But now comes David Matthews, attorney for the Rogers School District and joined by several other districts, asking for a delay of the Dec. 1 mandate until the 2007 legislature meets. Then the court should determine if the legislature has met the requirements of the court's earlier orders.
The major areas still to resolved, Matthews' brief says, are adequate facilities, providing for students who don't speak English well and meeting the needs of rapidly growing districts such as Rogers.
The new governor weighs in. He wants the court to butt out.
“The Supreme Court does not need to again retain jurisdiction in this case for further judicial oversight of our public schools. The Legislature and Governor took the necessary steps to address the Court’s concerns in April, and we will not step back from any of the reforms that are being implemented. It is time to issue the mandate and let the reforms made during the past three years continue to improve education in Arkansas.” – Attorney General Mike Beebe