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Arkansas using surplus to pay school districts’ higher insurance costs

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(The Center Square) – Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday the state will pick up the tab for school district’s increased insurance costs.

Premiums in the state’s school districts are averaging 130% higher than last year, according to Sanders’ office. The state will use its restricted reserves account to pay for 30% of the increase, the governor said.

“What these insurance providers are doing to our schools is outrageous,” Sanders said. “They gave districts no reasonable justification for skyrocketing premium costs. It’s clear that they’re just trying to line their pockets on the backs of Arkansas children and taxpayers.”

Lawmakers must approve the expenditure.

Arkansas ended the fiscal year with a surplus of just over $1.1 billion.

State tax collections for fiscal year 2023 totaled $7.1 billion for the state, which was $126.5 million above forecasted tax collections, according to an economic analysis delivered to the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

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