December 20, 2014

Senate panel votes to keep Price Lab School open another year

Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee have voted to override the decision to close the University of Northern Iowa laboratory school for student teachers.

Nearly 370 K-12 students are currently enrolled in the Malcolm Price Lab School. UNI’s president announced earlier this year it would be closed June 30. Senator Bob Dvorsky, a Democrat from Coralville, says this proposal would reverse that decision.

“I think there’s some questions about the process and information and all that,” Dvorsky says. “I think we’re trying to get more information and trying figure out what actually is the best thing to do.”

Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee today approved a 54-page bill that, among many other things, would provide $3 million to keep the Malcolm Price Lab School open for another school year, while a study is conducted to determine the school’s future.

“There’s a lot of interest from the area and we’ve been getting a lot of people in the area (who say) that’s a thing we ought to look at,” Dvorsky says,”keep it open while they study what the next step should be.”

Governor Terry Branstad has indicated he supports closing the school and the governor told reporters in early March that UNI president Ben Allen is in the best position to decide whether the school is closed down. The board that governs the three public universities in Iowa has approved the shut-down, too, and praised Allen for his approach to closing a budget deficit for the Cedar Falls school.

The proposal to keep UNI’s laboratory school open was included in an appropriations bill that covers a wide-range of spending proposals and often serves as a catch-all for proposals which have failed to clear both the House and Senate.