Democrats propose 5% increase in general state spending on schools

DES MOINES — Democrats in the Iowa House and Senate are calling a 5% increase in general state spending for Iowa’s K-12 public schools in the next academic year.

House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst said the money is needed to reduce class sizes and raise salaries to keep teachers from leaving the profession.

“If Governor Reynolds has $300 million to put toward another corporate tax cut,” Konfrst said, “then there is room in our budget to invest $300 million for Iowa’s kids.”

Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has proposed a cut that would reduce corporate income taxes by an estimated $300 million over five years.

Reynolds has proposed a 2.5% increase in general state school aid — half of what Democrats are proposing, and Republicans in the Senate have introduced a bill today calling for a 2.25% boost.

During a virtual news conference Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls said Democrats also oppose the governor’s proposal to give state tax dollars to parents who move their child from a public to a private school.

“We believe that public education makes Iowa great, but Republicans want to give up on Iowa public schools and we believe that we cannot afford that,” Wahls said.

Iowa currently ranks 39th among the states in per pupil funding for K-12 schools, according to Wahls.