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EDUCATION REFORM: Conference Committee Work

The 2013 legislative session is scheduled to last another 24 days.

That means the clock is ticking on passing an education reform bill, a key priority for Governor Branstad.

“I’m willing to meet morning, afternoon, and night. We’ll do whatever it takes,” said Representative Ron Jorgensen, a Republican from District 6.

The education conference committee met today to share details of both the senate and house plans.

Both plans have similar goals.

Those include recruiting and retaining top teachers, providing incentives for top students to stay in state for college and creating programs to develop teachers.

The plans differ when it comes to spending.

Senate Democrats hope to invest $190 million dollars into education reform while House Republicans are asking for $150 million dollars.

Both sides are also divided on allowable growth.

“What school districts have told us unanimously is they need four percent. That is why we put that in our bill,” said Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from District 23.

“We’re investing $150 million dollars into a reform initiative. The investment into education at two percent is substantial,” said Jorgensen.

The education conference committee will meet again Wednesday at noon.

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