The Joint Adequacy Evaluation Oversight Committee last week withdrew both its recommendation that the Arkansas General Assembly increase state aid by 2.5% in fiscal 2012 and its proposal for a 2.9% hike in fiscal 2013.

The panel submitted a report without adopting new recommendations and decided to meet again in November to develop a funding proposal.

Rep. Bill Abernathy, D-Mena, co-chairman of the committee, said lawmakers want to see how the economy is doing in the fall before making a recommendation on public education funding to the 2011 General Assembly.

The rescinded recommendation would have added $69 million a year to state funding for local school districts next year.

The school oversight subcommittee will reconvene Nov. 1 to recommend a funding level to the budget committee. The legislative session will begin

Jan. 10.

Abernathy said the panel will probably delay recommending a specific school-funding level until after Nov. 10, when the Department of Finance and Administration will present lawmakers with the official general revenue forecast for the next two fiscal years.

State law requires the subcommittee to set a funding level based on need and the amount necessary to provide an adequate educational system, not on the amount of money that is available.

Once a budget is adopted, state funding for education is protected from cuts in the event of an unexpected decline in revenue.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that the state must allocate funding for local school districts to provide an equitable and adequate education to all students.

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