Schools can keep excess funds, court rules

Posted: November 29, 2012 at 11:37 a.m.

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that school districts can keep property tax revenue raised through the Uniform Tax Rate even if the district collects more than the funding levels required by state law.

The 4-3 decision means Fountain Lake and Eureka Springs school districts won’t have to fork over the funds to the state Department of Education.

State officials had demanded that the districts turn over the excess funds so that they could be distributed to poorer school districts, but the court disagreed.

State law requires the money to be returned to the counties and then given to the district’s from whence they were collected, the court said.

Returning the money to the school districts will not affect all Arkansas students’ rights to receive “an adequate and substantially equal education,” the court added.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.