by Max Brantley
I've just been to the Capitol to film Arkansas Week. I ran into Sen. Jim Luker who had a piece of good news.
Remember yesterday's slick maneuver to double the state funding for 'virtual' charter schools -- nationwide moneymaking scheme invented by William Bennett that also serves as a public subsidy of home schooling?
Rep. Tracy Pennartz, who questioned the increase yesterday, introduced an amendment in Joint Budget this morning to rescind the increase. (CORRECTION: I'm told now that Rep. David Rainey actually offered the amendment.) Luker said it got more than 30 votes, enough to nullify the increase, which Sen. Gilbert Baker had added by sidestepping a vote yesterday.
Absent another amendment on the floor, the 'virtual' academy will be held at its existing level, still a hefty pile of cash. It gets the same reimbursement per sutdent that public schools get for 500 students, about $6,0000 each, even though it has no school to run. Nice pay if you can get it.