CHICAGO - Gov. John Engler of Michigan and a state senator who sponsored a measure to eliminate school operating property taxes last month are calling for a Dec. 31 deadline to come up with an alternative funding plan for schools.

In an Aug. 2 letter to newspapers in the state, Engler said the Legislature should complete work on funding schools and designing new and better schools" by the end of December "so everyone will get six months next year to prepare for the phase-in."

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