Arkansas' joint adequacy evaluation oversight subcommittee has proposed a 2.5% increase in state funding for local school districts in fiscal 2012 and another 2.9% hike in fiscal 2013.

Rep. Bill Abernathy, D-Mena, chairman of the committee, said the increases would account for inflation.

Abernathy said the additional funding would keep Arkansas in compliance with a 2002 state Supreme Court ruling that the Legislature must provide funds to ensure every student receives an equitable and adequate education.

The state is providing $2.76 billion to public education in fiscal 2011, the equivalent of $6,023 per student. The proposed increase would boost aid to $6,174 per pupil in fiscal 2012, a total of $2.83 billion.

The per-pupil allocation accounts for 55% of a district's total revenue. About 460,000 students attend public school in Arkansas.

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