EDUCATION REFORM: Still No Common Ground

Another meeting on education reform ends with state Republicans and Democrats failing to agree on a plan.  Democrats left today’s Conference Committee feeling like they made some progress.  Republicans didn’t see it that way. The parties are divided on funding and what they feel are the best ways to improve education.

“There are a lot of differences, but I’m trying to start with common ground.  I’m trying to the easy stuff first.  Let’s build some positive momentum that will build some trust into our negotiation,” says Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames.

Democrats rejected House Republicans’ offer to increase allowable growth to 4% over the next two years.  They say the proposal adds up to 3% the first year and only 2% percent next year.  Republicans say they’re disappointed the increase didn’t help them find common ground on other issues.

“We’re just going to have to say after a few more hours of discussion, we’re just not going to agree on this one push that aside and start going through the other part of the bill and come up and see what  areas can we find agreement on,” says Rep. Ron Jorgensen.

The Conference Committee plans to meet again Wednesday over the noon hour.  The session is scheduled to adjourn on May 3rd.

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