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MI lawmakers begin discussing K-12 budget

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network



State Superintendent Michael Flanagan asked lawmakers Wednesday for money to set up an education reform office to oversee failing schools.

Flanagan asked lawmakers for a half-million dollars to open an education reform office. He says it's important to open the office soon so it can begin working with failing schools before classes begin in the fall.

"The goal is really to try to help these districts put proposals in that we would accept - how do you do that if we don't spend the next few months saying here's kind of what you need to be thinking about getting into a proposal that we find acceptable,'" he explains.

The reform office would employ 14 people - including a reform officer who would have the authority to take over a school that fails to improve test scores and student performance. Flanagan says he is optimistic Michigan will win federal "Race To The Top" money, but the reforms approved by the Legislature need to be enforced with or without that money.

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