The Iowa House education committee will begin debate this week on a two year spending freeze for K-12 schools. The freeze is one of the key components of Governor’ Branstad’s budget. Representative Cindy Winkler, a Democrat from Davenport, says that doesn’t make sense when state revenues are growing and the surplus tops $300-million.
“This kind of severe budget is unnecessary. Why are we taking this approach to lead Iowans to believe we’re in trouble financially?,” Winkler asks. Representative Greg Forristall, a Republican from Macedonia, says the budget surplus is one time money and should not be used to fund ongoing expenses like K-12 schools.
“I’m concerned that it is a very austere budget but all of state of government is,” Forristall says, “and remember we’re not cutting a lot that school money; we’re keeping it the same. And any and area of state government which stays the same is winning a victory this year.” The Iowa Association of School Boards warns without an increase in per pupil spending, more than 150 districts with declining enrollment will see a reduction in state aid.