Governor Tom Vilsack has used his item veto authority to nix a few Republican budget cuts to education programs. The G-O-P proposed a 10-million dollar cut in a program that helps schools hire teachers to reduce class sizes or improve reading skills of students. Vilsack also restored two million dollars for a program that rewards teachers for innovations. Vilsack says research shows that class size and the quality of the teacher in the classroom fundamentally impact a child’s education. Vilsack says he’s taking action on both issues to meet a promise he made to fully fund the effort.Vilsack took the action at a Waukee school in front of about 40 first- and second-graders. He told the kids “this day is your day, were signing a bill that makes decisions on how we’re going to spend money on education.”Vilsack also restored half a million to the budget that provides state money to finance busing students to non-public/parochial schools. House Speaker Brent Siegrist of Council Bluffs is the legislature’s top Republican leader. He says he’s not surprised as the governor has talked about making the moves. Siegrist says the state can’t afford to spend 12-and-a-half million dollars more. He says the programs are admirable, but he says it will make next year’s fiscal picture more difficult.
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