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May 23, 2005     (512) 463-0300

SENATE CONFEREES, LT. GOVERNOR, GOVERNOR MEET ON SCHOOL REFORM BILL

In the continuing effort to reform the way the state pays for public schools, top state lawmakers met today continue working on House Bill 2. HB 2 is the major piece of education reform legislation before the Legislature this session, and there are some differences between the House and Senate versions of this bill.

Some of the important provisions at issue include the teacher pay raise and funding for facilities and programs. The House wants to fund the pay raise through formula funding, while the Senate wants to grant an across the board salary increase, said Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. Dewhurst said in a press conference today that while there are some differences, there is nothing that cannot be resolved. "There are some principles, some reform that the Senate feels very, very strongly about, but I think we can get there," said Dewhurst, referring to a compromise between the two chambers. "If we can get the House with a clear direction in a room with our Senate conferees, we can get there in a very short time."

Governor Rick Perry met with Dewhurst and the Senate conferees to go over the outstanding issues between the two chambers, and Dewhurst said the governor will meet with House Speaker Tom Craddick and the House conferees to see where the House position stands. He added that unless a deal is made by late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, Senate rules will make it very difficult to get an education reform plan to the governor's desk before the Legislature adjourns on May 31.

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, May 24 at 8 a.m. to consider the local and uncontested calendar, and will meet in regular session at 10 a.m.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.

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