Beginning January 1, premium prices could increase from 48 percent to as much as 350 percent for some school workers, but a state senator from Conway believes he has the answer.
"We know there's got to be relief here," Sen. Jason Rapert said. "Literally getting more emails on this issue than any other issue since I've been in the legislature, I can tell there's got to be some help put in place for the immediate short term situation."
After researching and making phone calls, Rapert said he found a state surplus.
"I have right here in hand, $151,350,249 that's sitting in cash, unappropriated, unallocated, ready to be used," he said. "I have in black and white, where the state does have the money, if we choose, to help teachers right now, without interrupting departmental budgets of any other agencies in the entire state."
He said this could be the answer to the premium problem.
"I think it's what we should do and I think that's what the times require that we do," Rapert said.
Gov. Mike Beebe knows a $58 million payment into the teacher's insurance plan could halt the hike, but he doesn't believe that's the answer to the future.
"It doesn't do any good to throw one time money at an ongoing problem, unless you are using that money as a bridge to get to the long-term situation," Beebe said.
Rapert is hopeful this new discovery of funds will lead to a special session that could allow law makers to allocate that surplus of funds and then focus on the long-term fix. Beebe is hopeful that both a quick and long term solution come together before a special session would begin.