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Arkansas

Constitutional Provisions

Compelled Support Clause

“[N]o man can, of right, be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship; or to maintain any ministry against his consent.” Arkansas Const. Art. II, § 24.

Education Articles 

“Intelligence and virtue being the safeguards of liberty and the bulwark of a free and good government, the State shall ever maintain a general, suitable and efficient system of free public schools and shall adopt all suitable means to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education.” Arkansas Const. Art. XIV, § 1.

“No money or property belonging to the public school fund, or to this State, for the benefit of schools or universities, shall ever be used for any other than for the respective purposes to which it belongs.” Arkansas Const. Art. XIV, § 2.

Vouchers: Yes

Tax Credits: Yes


Existing Private School Choice Programs

The Succeed Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities

Arkansas Code Annotated Section 6-41-701 to -707

Relevant Case Law

Lendall v. Cook, 432 F. Supp. 971 (E.D. Ark. 1977)
A federal district court concluded that a state higher education scholarship program that permitted students to choose religious or non-religious colleges did not violate the Arkansas Constitution’s Compelled Support Clause.

Analysis and Recommendations

Both tax credit programs and vouchers are school choice options for Arkansas. Its constitution does not contain a Blaine Amendment and its Compelled Support Clause, while receiving little judicial attention, does not forbid religiously neutral school choice programs, provided funds allotted for the public schools are not used.

Model Legislation: Education Savings Account, Parental Choice Scholarship Program (Universal Eligibility), Parental Choice Scholarship Program (MeansTested Eligibility), Special Needs Scholarship Program, Foster Child Scholarship Program, Autism Scholarship, Great Schools Tax Credit Program, Family Education Tax Credit Program

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