(The Center Square) – Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders said Tuesday a lawsuit challenging the validity of the recently passed LEARNS Act is “absolutely absurd.”
A group of parents and the Citizens for Arkansas Public Education and Students are suing the Arkansas Board of Education over the board’s decision to transfer management of the Marvell-Elaine School District to a charter-school management company.
The plaintiffs contend the transfer is invalid because lawmakers did not vote separately on an emergency clause for the LEARNS bill that would make the bill effective immediately.
The lawsuit cites the Arkansas House of Representatives Procedure Manual that states: “If the enactment contains an emergency clause, it must be separately voted upon and include enough facts to justify the emergency, and include the language that immediate effectiveness is necessary to preserve the peace, health, and safety of the public.”
The plaintiffs said they are also concerned about the cost of the management contract, “which would be $250,000 and $200,000 per year after that, to be paid out of the Marvell-Elaine School District budget, will reduce the funds available for providing educational resources to Marvell-Elaine students,” the lawsuit said.
When asked about the lawsuit at a ceremonial bill signing, the governor said it is “without merit.”
“The sad thing is this is a political game that people are playing with children’s futures,” Sanders said.
The plaintiffs are asking for a temporary restraining order on the state school board’s decision and that the LEARNS Act emergency clause be declared “invalid and ineffective.”
The court records do not show any upcoming hearings on the case.