Education Panels to Hold Pre-Thanksgiving Session

November 24, 2003 - Posted at 4:29 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The House majority leader is preparing to pitch his middle-of-the-road approach to overhauling public education.  He wants colleagues to back his plan on how to best implement court-ordered school reforms.

Representative Harmon Seawel's turn comes tomorrow at a pre-Thanksgiving meeting of the House and Senate education committees.

The panels have been meeting jointly for weeks reviewing education proposals without reaching agreement on a plan to meet a state Supreme Court-imposed January 1 deadline to reform a system that the high court declared unconstitutional in November 2002.

The ruling came down more than a year ago, and legislators are two weeks from the start of a likely special session.  They remain torn between consolidating small school districts to better afford costly reforms and sharply raising taxes to pay for improvements in all 308 districts.

Huckabee's office says the governor may not call the special session if it does not look like a plan will be approved.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)