Legislators have a February 17th deadline for setting the level of state aid for public schools for the 2006-2007 school year. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says he worries about making a decision in 2004 about how much money the state can spend in 2006 is “prudent.” If lawmakers fail to set a level of general state aid — called allowable growth — for Iowa’s public, 8-through-12 schools by February 17th, they’ll be violating a law. State law requires the decision to be made a month after the Governor submits his budget to lawmakers. Rants predicts legislators will meet that February 17th deadline. Rants says it “does not look good” for legislators to ignore the law. Governor Tom Vilsack isn’t willing to cut lawmakers any slack, either. Vilsack says under the current system, the “first dollar” that state lawmakers will commit goes to education, and that sends a strong message that education is the priority of state government.
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