Republicans and three Democrats in the legislature have approved a plan to boost per pupil state spending for Iowa’s public K-through-12 schools by a total of $79 million. House Republicans voted to endorse that level of spending Monday evening. Representative Cecil Dolecheck is a Republican from Mount Ayr.
Senate Republicans, along with three Democrats in the senate, approved the roughly two percent increase in general state aid to schools Wednesday. Republican Senator Amy Sinclair of Allerton says about half the state budget is spent on education, from preschool to higher education.
Democrats like Representative Heather Matson of Ankeny say it’s not enough.
Other Democrats, like Senator Jackie Smith of Sioux City, say state support of public schools hasn’t kept up with inflation.
A separate bill related to state education spending passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support this week as well. It extends extra state money to schools dealing with big transportation budgets, plus about 170 districts will get about five dollars more per pupil. That’s meant to deal with a problem in Iowa’s school funding formula that has meant some districts have been getting less in per pupil funding than others.