Ark. panel backs changes to school distress law

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - An Arkansas House panel has advanced legislation giving financially and academically troubled school districts more time to fix their problems before facing consolidation with other districts.

The House Education Committee on Tuesday approved the bill that would increase the maximum amount of time a district can be in fiscal, academic or facilities distress from two to five years. State education officials have said the change is needed to give districts more time to address their problems.

Schools and districts that don't get out of distress in that time period can face annexation or consolidation with a neighboring district.

The measure now heads to the House for a vote.

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