The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) has become aware of questions concerning the status of the pending Rules Governing Nutrition and Physical Activity Standards in Arkansas Public Schools (Rules). The Rules were given final approval by the Arkansas State Board of Education (SBE) at its August 8, 2005, meeting. In addition, the Rules were reviewed at the September 6, 2005 meeting of the Arkansas Legislative Counsel (ALC) Rules Subcommittee and received final approval from the ALC as required by Ark. Code Ann. § 10-3-309. Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 25-15-204(d) and (e), the Rules are required to be filed with the Secretary of State’s Office and must be on file for ten (10) days before becoming effective. It is anticipated that the Rules will become effective by Monday, September 19, 2005.
With regard to questions concerning school districts that have existing legal contracts that may conflict with provisions of the rules, once the new rules become effective, please be advised that Article 1, § 10 of the United States Constitution and Article 2, § 17 of the Arkansas Constitution prohibit a state from passing any law which impairs the obligation of existing legal contracts. Thus, a statute or agency rule derived from statutes cannot operate to invalidate those portions of a contract that conflict with a rule as long as the contract existed and was effective prior to the effective date of the statute or rule. However, also be advised, that any change, addendum or revision to an existing contract or creation of a new contract that is executed after the rules are effective must be in compliance with the rules.
Questions concerning this memo may be directed to the ADE’s General Counsel, Scott Smith, at 501-682-4227.