Governor Vilsack this morning outlined 90-million dollars worth of new state spending he wants dedicated to education priorities. Next week in his Condition of the State speech, Vilsack will propose hiking state teacher’s salaries to the national average. The Governor was cagey Wednesday morning and wouldn’t release the details of his teacher pay proposal, but talked in vague terms about developing a “hook” which will keep Iowa-educated teachers here.Vilsack wants to give about three-hundred NEW Iowa teachers a tax break to help erase their college loans. Critics say Vilsack’s tax-break-for-teachers idea leaves the impression that teachers are more important to the state than individuals in other professions.Vilsack is also asking Republican legislators to re-think their opposition to having the state spend money on fixing local schools. Last year, Vilsack proposed having the state send local schools 150-million over five years for school construction and renovation. This year, he’s simply proposing a one-year, 10-million dollar state investment in school infrastructure.Governor Branstad once made raising Iowa teacher salaries to the national average a priority — but it’s never been accomplished. The beginning teacher salary in Iowa today is 23-thousand dollars. The national average is about 37-thousand.
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