Huckabee Tells Legislators "Time To Finish" Education Overhaul

December 8, 2003 - Posted at 2:20 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Mike Huckabee addressed the state legislature today and says it's "time to finish."

In his speech to mark the official start of the session to address education reform, Huckabee said it was time for state leaders to uphold their duty in reforming education, whether they agreed with it or not.

His speech was short, because he said all of the parties already knew the details of what they have to deal with in meeting a Supreme Court mandate to overhaul the state's public schools.

They must have a plan to do so by January 1.

Huckabee said, "We've talked for a year.  It's time to finish.  Let's get it done for the people of our state.  Most of all, let's get it done for the children of the state."

Huckabee said he was trimming his desired plan for consolidation by two-thirds and called to his opposition to meet him halfway.

Reaction to Huckabee's consolidation number was lukewarm.

Representative Marvin Parks of Greenbriar says that insisting on any number at all would find little support.  Representative Russ Bennett says that opposition to consolidation isn't even about numbers, it's about principle.

But Senator Jim Argue, who is the sponsor of Huckabee's plan praised Huckabee's speech and said he was repeatedly compromised on consolidation.

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