The state’s leading education groups today urged republican legislators to drop their teacher pay plan. Iowa State Education Association President Jolene Franken of Denison says there’s not enough money in it to provide pay increases and shift to a new, merit-based pay system. Franken says Republicans have created a quote “mucked-up mess” by failing to follow through on campaign promises made last fall. Newton Superintendent Phil Hintz, president of School Administrators of Iowa, says it’s time to derail the plan. Hintz says the plan shows little promise of enhancing teacher quality and recruitment. Iowa Association of School Boards president Dick Vande Kieft is a member of the Cedar Falls School Board. He criticizes Republicans for cutting money out of existing school programs, like a reading initiative, and shifting it to the teacher pay package. Kieft say moving money from one pocket to the next will not have any effect on higher teacher pay or more learning. Republican legislators say they’re surprised by today’s announcement, but are inclined to press ahead with the bill that outlines the rules for a new teacher compensation system. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says the state just doesn’t have enough money to do it all, especially since tax collections have dipped below last year’s level. Rants says when revenue doesn’t come in as expected, priorities needs to be changed. He says they will still get 60-thousand dollars more this year. Rants says republicans can “re-arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic” but cannot commit more money than the sinking state treasury has.
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