Des Moines, Iowa — A deal has been struck at the statehouse to boost general state aid for public schools by two-and-a-quarter percent. That is 0.20% less than Governor Terry Branstad had initially recommended. Sheldon School Superintendent Robin Spears says that 0.20% comes out to about $14,000 for the Sheldon Community School District.
Senator Tod Bowman, a Democrat from Maquoketa, says getting an agreement between Republicans and Democrats was difficult.
Representative Ron Jorgensen, a Republican from Sioux City who is a former school board member, says it’s all the state can afford.
Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, is a reluctant supporter of the compromise.
Representative Cindy Winckler, a Democrat from Davenport who is a former teacher, says she understands this deal is the final product of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, but she doesn’t support it.
The compromise now has cleared its first step and will next be voted upon by the full House and Senate. Education groups are “relieved” to finally know the number, because school district budgets for next year must be completed by April 15th. Tom Narak is with the School Administrators of Iowa.
That’s because the two-and-a-quarter percent increase is in per pupil spending, so the 112 Iowa school districts with declining enrollment won’t get more money from the state. One senator is predicting more districts will be forced to merge because of the financial pressure.