Ross said he thought it was “a mistake” when former Gov. Mike Huckabee pushed for legislation that led to the consolidation of many small districts.
“I think you should measure education based on quality rather than quantity, and some of the schools that have been closed are too far from another school. … I can tell you that I’d be receptive to reviewing legislation to try to stop some of these schools from closing, especially those in rural areas that require young people to spend way too much time riding a school bus,” he said.
Hutchinson said he would support legislation to allow small districts to obtain a waiver from the law if they are performing well academically and are financially sound.
“There was a new study that was completed which showed that in some school districts, students are on the bus for 5 1/2 hours,” he said. “That is unacceptable. Bus transportation, the length of transportation, has to be a factor to be considered when you’re looking at that magical number of 350 and what happens whenever you close it, including what happens to the community as well.”