State aid to Arkansas school districts must go up by $63 million a year over the next two years to keep pace with inflation, the Bureau of Legislative Research said last week.
The 2% increase would add $125 per student per year to the funding level, currently at $6,267 per student.
House and Senate education committees are meeting in Little Rock this week to determine the level of funding needed to provide the “adequate” education mandated by the state constitution. The committee must present its report to the General Assembly by Nov. 1.
Richard Wilson, assistant director of the legislature bureau, said he used an average of two predictions to develop the official state forecast for an inflation rate of 2.19% in fiscal 2014 and 2.14% in fiscal 2015.
The education committees adopted an inflation forecast of 2.5% in the latest report in 2010, but later lowered the predicted rate at the request of Gov. Mike Beebe.
The General Assembly has approved an average annual inflation prediction of 1.84% over the last five years, Wilson said, while the actual inflation rate over the period has been 1.76%.
The state has increased education assistance by 2% a year over the past five fiscal years.