2014 Fiscal Session Starts Today

When the voters of Arkansas approved Amendment 86 to the Arkansas Constitution in 2008, I dare say that most of them didn’t know what they were really getting themselves into. That amendment, of course, requires appropriations to be passed annually rather than every two years, resulting in the requirement that the General Assembly meet in …

Pulaski County Desegregation Settlement Approved

Last fall, I wrote here that the Pulaski County school desegregation case was close to a potential settlement. That settlement received final approval from Judge Price Marshall earlier this week, thus ending decades of desegregation litigation between the State and the three Pulaski County school districts. The State will continue to pay the nearly $70 million …

Court Rejects First Amendment Arguments and Upholds Teacher’s Dismissal

In 2012, Bryan Craig, a tenured guidance counselor and girls’ basketball coach at Rich Central High School outside of Chicago, self-published a book containing adult relationship advice entitled “It’s Her Fault.” In this book, Craig sought to give advice to women regarding how to develop better relationships with men. While some of Craig’s advice is …

Desegregation Case Close to Settlement

Last week, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced that a potential settlement in the decades-long Pulaski County school desegregation lawsuit has been reached. Pursuant to the 1989 settlement agreement, the State of Arkansas currently pays nearly $70 million annually to the Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Pulaski County Special School Districts, in addition to …

The 2013 Special Session

Governor Beebe has called a special session of the Arkansas General Assembly to begin today at 3:00 p.m. for legislators to address the health insurance premium increase that public school teachers and employees would otherwise face starting January 1, 2014, which I’ve discussed here and here. Governor Beebe had stated that he would not call a …

Update on Teacher Health Insurance

Last month, I broke down here why school employee health insurance is more expensive than that for general state employees and why school employees may be facing a 50% increase in premiums starting in January.  Several weeks ago, Governor Beebe delayed school employee enrollment from October 1 until November 1 (enrollment ends November 20) to give …

Feds Issue Guidance on Race-Based Admissions

Late last month, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice jointly issued this “Dear Colleague” Letter and “Questions and Answer” to college and university presidents across the country as additional guidance to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Fisher v. University of …

Arkansas Supreme Court Rejects Teacher Union Appeal

Today, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued an opinion affirming a circuit court’s dismissal of the lawsuit filed by the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers (PACT) and the Pulaski Association of Support Staff (PASS) against Dr. Tom Kimbrell, Education Commissioner, and the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), among others, for Dr. Kimbrell’s decision to order the Pulaski …