Governor Terry Branstad gave the closing remarks at Thursday’s Iowa Association of School Boards convention. Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson reports: IASB report :48

The governor was serenaded and presented an apple with a candle in it for his birthday before speaking to the school board members about his education reform plan. The governor asked the leaders at the local level to give support to his plans for reform, even in the face of skeptics.

Branstad says transforming our schools will take leadership, not only from the governor, director of education and the legislature, but from school board members. “You’re the leaders at the local level that we’re counting on to get this done,” Branstad said.

The teacher pay portion of Branstad’s proposal has been put on hold. He says the feedback he got from local town hall meetings was the reason he decided to delay it. “There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered and there’s significant cost items associated with that, so we have to build a consensus, we’ve got to get an understanding of this, and also we have to cost out what it’s going to be,” the governor said.

Branstad says the education director will put together a working group to work on some of those questions. His introduction started with birthday wishes, and Branstad said he was pleased with the way his speech was received. “You know I got a standing ovation on the speech, I was really pleased with that, you know I think they are very interested,” Branstad says.

He says the schoolboard members are volunteers and they wouldn’t be doing the job if they weren’t interested. So he hopes they will influence their lawmakers and others to mover forward on the reforms. There are over 350 school districts in Iowa.