House Democrats continue to press Republicans on school funding

ClassroomBy Bob Eschliman


For the fifth time in as many legislative work days, Iowa House Minority Leader Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown) asked Iowa House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) on Monday about the status of conference committee negotiations on school funding for the next two years.

Last week, House Democrats also used points-of-privilege speeches to hammer at Republicans on the state percentage of growth impasse. Democrats have moved from their original position of 4 percent to 2.625 percent, while Republicans have remained steadfast at 1.25 percent.

At 1.25 percent, Upmeyer said, 55 cents of every dollar in new General Fund revenue received in the next fiscal year will go to increased education funding. The Democrat proposal, she said, would require significant cuts in other areas to maintain a balanced budget that does not spend more than the state takes in.

Democrats, on the other hand, counter that Iowa is already below the national average in per-pupil state spending, and that other states are seeing faster improvement in student achievement. They also noted that at 1.25 percent, students in many school districts will face crowded classrooms, fewer course offerings and extracurricular activities, and higher property tax burdens.

Earlier in the day, the House approved House Resolution 32, which names April 2015 as Financial Literacy Month.


CLICK HERE to see video of Smith’s questions for Upmeyer (advance to 12:38 mark).