Legislature Talking K-12 Education Funding

Date posted - February 2, 2016

Des Moines, Iowa — Democrats and Republicans in the Iowa legislature are trying to reach a quick agreement on state spending on K-through-12 schools — for the school year that starts in the fall.
Iowa Capitol Dome

That’s House Speaker Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake, the legislature’s top Republican leader.

Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says Democrats are leery of the Republican governor’s involvement since Branstad unexpectedly vetoed some education spending last summer.

Last year’s school spending debate in the legislature lasted for months, but — like Upmeyer — Gronstal is urging a speedy decision.

The negotiating positions heading in have House Republicans offering a two percent boost in state support of schools. Democrats are calling for twice that much. Governor Branstad’s recommendation is in between — a two-point-45 percent increase.

We asked Sibley-Ocheyedan Superintendent Bill Boer to quantify the difference between two and four percent.

Boer says it’s important to remember that while the annual increases are “new money” that the district did not receive the previous year, the annual increases are really only keeping up with the annual rise in costs.

He tells us what they’ve had to do in previous years with less funding.

Boer says he knows the legislature only has so much to work with.

Whatever compromise may be reached must clear the Democratically-controlled Senate and the Republican-led House.

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