Negotiators from the state House and Senate have failed to meet Governor Granholm's latest deadline to complete work on a plan to encourage veteran teachers to retire. But key negotiators in the debate over the retirement proposal say they are still optimistic they will reach a deal. Granholm had set yesterday as the last day lawmakers had to approve a plan before it was too late for schools to find savings in the reform and begin hiring new teachers.
Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon says it is important to complete the work, regardless of the governor's deadline. But he says he also understands schools need answers before the end of the week.
"The more time they have the better," he says. "So I agree that sooner is better than later, but I don't see how we get a responsible K-12 budget done without this getting done, so to me, getting it done is more important than the exact date.
Republican state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop says the retirement plan is one of the smaller reforms lawmakers are working on in budget negotiations.
"Seeing now a proposal that is I think frankly not a big ask for the system. And the fact that they cannot agree on that is very frustrating. It's very difficult to get anything through the Legislature right now," he says.
Both Bishop and Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon say key negotiators in the Senate and House will continue to work on the retirement plan this week.