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Thursday, April 15, 2010

 4:01 PM 

Senate stalls superintendent bill

The state Senate has delayed SB 437, a bill to give the state superindent increased authority to intervene in struggling school districts, while another GOP amendment is crafted.

Two GOP amendments to the bill -- one to alter collective bargaining for teachers and one to break up Milwaukee Public Schools into eight smaller districts -- have already been ruled non-germane by Senate President Fred Risser, D-Madison.

Republicans have charged that lawmakers must do more to help failing districts, calling the revised bill unveiled this week "an empty shell."

"It's a bit of a negotiation bewteen parties that don't want to see radical change happen," said Sen. Ted Kanavas, R-Brookfield, about the bill. "It doesn't get us where we need to go."

But Democrats praised the measure as an effort toward reform after the original bill lagged behind the rest of an education reform package.

"This bill is absolute proof that the MTEA, the Milwaukee teachers, and WEAC and others have heard the message from the Race to the Top application," said Senate Education Committee Chairman John Lehman, D-Racine, said. "They really stepped up and came to the table and said, 'Yeah, we want this to work.'"

The bill will now be taken up after SB 604.

UPDATE: The amendment hasn't arrived as of the passaged of SB 604, so the education bill now moves to the foot of the Senate calendar.


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