The director of Iowa’s Department of Education says long-term damage will be done if republican lawmakers do not provide more money for Iowa’s K-through-12 public schools. Governor Vilsack today vetoed the G-O-P’s spending plan, and Education Department director Ted Stilwill applauds that action. Stilwill says school districts continue to lose ground. He costs for schools have gone up more the past three years than has state aid, and schools will “substantially reduce opportunities for kids.” Republicans contend that over the past five years, state aid to schools has increased by over 300-million dollars, while enrollment has declined by 18-thousand students. Stilwill counters that over the past four years, total K-12 funding has increased half a percent a year. Stilwill says that growth is available to only two-thirds of Iowa school districts. The rest are under what’s called the budget guarantee — which means schools with declining enrollment are guaranteed they’ll get the same amount of money from the state next year, but no increase because of their shrinking student numbers. Stilwill joins with his boss, the governor, in calling on legislators to increase taxes in order to spend more on schools.Stilwill says the population in Minnesota and Wisconsin is growing three and four times faster than Iowa, yet those two neighboring states have significantly higher tax burdens. Stilwill made his comments this morning during taping of the Iowa Public Television program, “Iowa Press.”