It appears there’s another statehouse stand-off ahead over state funding for public schools. Iowa law requires the legislature to set the level of general state aid for each school year about 18 months before classes start. But House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, says Republicans won’t take that vote in 2014.
“The expectation would be in 2015 we’ll address it for the ’15/’16 school year and the ’16/’17 school year,” Paulsen says.
Republicans passed a two-year state budget plan last year and Paulsen says that’s their intention in 2015. Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says within two weeks Democrats in the Senate will pass a bill outlining their state spending pledge to schools for the 2015/2016 school year.
“We believe it’s important to obey state law,” Gronstal says.
Republicans want to repeal the law that requires the state funding decision for schools to be made a year and a half in advance. And Paulsen — the top Republican in the legislature — says there’s another reason Republicans will reject the Democrats’ proposal on school aid, “because their proposal actually increases property tax.”
Since the 1970s, the traditional way of calculating general state aid for schools has allowed school districts to collect more local property taxes if state aid increased. Republicans want to make a different calculation, one that would forbid an increase in local property taxes if state support goes up.