GOP-led House sends governor plan for state spending on public schools

DES MOINES — The Iowa House has sent the governor a plan to provide Iowa’s public K-through-12 schools 3% more in general state support in the next academic year.

Republican Representative Craig Johnson of Independence says it’s a nearly $107 million increase.  “I think it’s a good news story for Iowans and our educators and our families,” Johnson said. The plan cleared the Republican-led Senate Thursday.

Democrats like Representative Eric Gjerde of Cedar Rapids say public schools dealing with escalating costs will have to cut staff and programs.  “The Iowans that I have spoke to say we need to do a lot of things and one major thing is stop strangling our public schools,” Gjerde says.

Other Democrats object to providing public schools a budget increase that’s roughly identical to the amount private school parents will start getting in state-funded savings accounts next school year.

House Speaker Pat Grassley says $3.7  billion will be spent on school districts next year — so Republicans are dedicating 45% of the entire state budget to public K-through-12 schools.