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Sunday Talk: Guth on Week 12 in the Iowa Senate

Week 12 has finished and the legislature is rapidly approaching its April 16th target for completion. This week we will finish up on regular legislation and consider the confirmation of the Governor’s appointees to various boards and agencies.

On Thursday Senate Republicans released the total general fund spending goal for next year. The general fund target of $8.872 billion is a 3.74 percent increase over FY 2024. It includes the increase of $172 million in funding for public K-12 schools and minimum starting teacher pay approved earlier this week in HF 2612 and $51.25 million in new money for educational savings accounts for a total $223.2 million in new money for K-12 education.

The education bill set minimum wages for beginning full time teachers at $47,000 next year and $50,000 the year after that. A teacher with at least 12 years of experience will receive $60,000, moving to $62,000 in two years. This is a tremendous raise for teachers in many districts and will place Iowa fifth from the highest among the states.

This bill also places the oversight of the Area Education Agencies (AEAs) with the Department of Education. Next year all special education funds will flow through schools to the AEAs the same as in the past. The first year AEAs will also automatically receive 40% of the media and educational services funding with the school deciding if they want the rest to go to AEAs of somewhere else. The second year the school will have the ability to direct all of the money for those media and education services to wherever they can best be served.

This bill, like most significant legislation, was a compromise between the House, the Senate, and the Governor. Nothing in this reform will threaten any services, like speech therapy, provided to the students who need it. The whole intent of this bill is to get more and even better services to those students with the hope we can help them achieve their maximum potential.

As we get closer to the end of session, we are going to be focusing on some of the bigger issues that remain. If you have questions about a bill previously debated or yet to be addressed, or anything else happening at the Capitol, please feel free to reach out. It is an honor to serve you at the Capitol and represent our district in the Iowa Senate.

This weekend my family will be celebrating the fact that our Creator cared for us so much that He sent His Son to experience life just as we do. He was tempted; He suffered grief, hunger, and shame. He did this for me personally, even when I was not interested in Him. He sought me out. He patiently exposed me to the Truth of that love until I recognized how poorly I was running my own life. Over 49 years ago I realized I was headed for disaster because I was focused on myself. His love for me changed me and continues to mold me for good. It is my prayer that you will personally meet the God who not only died for you, but rose from the dead so that you might know that you, too, can have eternal life with Him.

I will be holding my last public forum of the 2024 session on Friday, April 5 at 1:30 in the Clarion library.

Corn Growers from Wright County
Pastor and leadership of Story City E Free and Church Ambassador network
Wright County credit Unions meet with Senator Guth

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