House and Senate education committees have approved a study on the adequacy of state and local funding for public education that recommends an increase of between $34 million and $59 million a year.

The study by the Joint Adequacy Evaluation Oversight Subcommittee said annual base school funding should be increased by between 1.3% and 2.2%. The study also said Arkansas schools should receive an additional $24 million a year for the next two years to pay for higher transportation costs due to the increasing cost of diesel fuel.

The Legislature will use the study, which is required by state law, in the 2009 biannual session to ensure adequate funding for the state’s 459,000 public school students in fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011.

Per-student funding for Arkansas’ 245 school districts in fiscal 2009 totals $2.66 billion. Districts will receive $5,789 for each student in fiscal 2009.

Lawmakers will begin hearings on state agency budgets for the next two fiscal years in early October. The Legislature will convene in January.

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