Arkansas Learns Supports SB65 to Amend Arkansas Public School Choice Act

Senator Johnny Key (R – District 17) has filed Senate Bill 65 to amend the Public School Choice Act of 1989.

Arkansas Learns strongly supports the bill, which has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Education, which Senator Key also chairs.

All students in Arkansas should be afforded the opportunity to attend the public school which best fits their needs and the needs of their families.

The existing law creates general school choice rights for students at the school district level (i.e. inter-district school choice). Earlier this year Federal Judge Bob Dawson of the Western District of Arkansas ruled that the race-based restrictions in the general inter-district school choice law of Arkansas are unconstitutional and struck down the entire law, but stayed the effect of his court order pending an appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard the case on January 16th.

Arkansas Learns believes that it is not acceptable to deny school choice to the thousands of students who have already choiced to another school district or to deny school choice to future students or parents wishing to have the same opportunity to school choice as previous students, some of whom are siblings who have already choiced to a school district other that their district of residence.

This bill simply removes the race provision of the previous inter-district school choice law and allows for choice opportunities among all students to attend the school that best fits their needs.

In order to immediately fix the court ruling making school choice illegal in order to have choice available for the next (2013-14) school year, the bill has an Emergency Clause.

Arkansas Learns members are encouraged to track, vote, comment and take action on the bill on our Action site. While a Single Sign On (SSO) is being developed between the site and, members must register separately for the site. For convenience, members should use the same username and password as their account.

Legislative Action is another member service of Arkansas Learns.

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