Legislator Says Its Time to Focus on Crisis

September 9, 2003 - Posted at: 4:37 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A veteran legislator says it's time for the state House and Senate education committees to get involved in school reform.

Representative Jodie Mahony says the committee should start writing public school reform legislation for a December special session. Mahony says waiting while disparate plans are argued in separate venues could doom efforts to make court-ordered improvements to state schools.

Mahony says the committees need to begin meeting regularly to draft legislation for a special education session that Governor Huckabee has tentatively set to begin December eighth.

The education committees are scheduled to meet jointly September 18. Mahony is a non-voting member of the House Education Committee.

Senator Jim Argue, chairman of the Senate panel, says the committees could meet as often as once a week, focusing on three broad areas of education reform: resources, including teacher salaries and preschool; program development and expanding the ability of schools to reach more children; and accountability.

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