Education reform conference committee could be close

LANSING, MI – The chairs of state House and Senate Education Committees are working to reach consensus on reform plans. A key difference right now is the urgency of getting something done quickly.

The Senate Education Committee began discussing the House education reform plan last week.

Democratic House Education Committee Chairman Tim Melton said, "I'm thrilled that they're finally moving the ball down the court."

Melton's proposal would threaten Michigan's worst-performing schools with a state takeover if they don't improve test scores. Melton says he wants Michigan to compete for hundreds of millions of federal school-reform dollars.

"To put the best application possible forward, we have to have this legislation passed," Melton says.

Melton says he and Republican Senate Education Committee Chairman Wayne Kuipers must reach a deal by December to be eligible for the federal money. But Kuipers says it's more important to get the reform plan right, than to rush legislation through.