(West Memphis, AR) Arkansas ranks among the top in the nation when it comes to spending money on education.
Test numbers show that investment may not be paying off just yet as scores are below the national average.
A few years back, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled education must be the top funded program in the state.
If there are any budget cuts, they must be made to other programs before education is touched.
The state spends nearly $10,000 a year per student.
West Memphis Superintendent Bill Kessinger says it helped his district put a smart board in every classroom along with other technology improvements, and an increase in teacher training.
“It’s allowed us to hire more personnel to work with the youngsters. You’ve got more personal attention. We’ve got math and literacy coaches at every school,” said Kessinger.
Paula Greer hopes the state continues spending, “Education filters into the economy, the community,so it should be one of those top priorities we should keep on the priority list.”
The State Budget Solutions says Arkansas’s spending ranked in the top five for the past few years, but you can’t tell when looking at ACT scores.
They report numbers have trended down over the past three years.
The State Department of Education however says scores are slightly up.
Kessinger says there’s a reason numbers may not add up, “A few years ago, only the youngsters that were planning to go to college took the ACT. Now, basically all the students take the ACT. So, the more students that take the test, the lower the test scores are going to be.”
The SBS says just across the river in Tennessee, the state is in the bottom five percent, when it comes to what percentage of the state budget is spent on education.