The state teacher’s union will urge Governor Tom Vilsack to veto the school spending plan making its way through the House and Senate today. Iowa State Education Association president John Hieronymus says the $45 MILLION state spending increase republicans are offering for the 2005/2006 school year is “unacceptable.” Hieronymus says legislators have “already been starving school districts” over the past few years, and the only way schools have been able to keep up is to cut class offerings, cancel field trips, delay technology purchases and do a “whole raft” of other things Hieronymous says are having a “real negative impact on students.” Hieronymous says since 1995, G-O-P lawmakers have pushed through what he calls “irresponsible tax cuts” and now there’s not enough state tax dollars coming in to adequately support schools. Hieronymous, who is a math teacher, says the majority of legislators “clearly…do not get the simple economics of what’s going on.” Hieronymous says legislators need to look at the “big problem” and figure out a way to solve it rather than “continue to decimate our education system.” Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack had sought $98 MILLION more in general state aid for schools in the 2005/2006 school year. Republicans intend to spend half that. Hieronymous says if the republican-led legislature settles on that lower number, the teachers union will urge Governor Vilsack to veto the proposal because it would lead to deeper cuts in schools. Governor Vilsack issued a statement this morning, saying “the children of Iowa deserve better” than the republican spending plan.
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