There was more debate at the statehouse, but no resolution over the proper timing of the legislature’s decision on state funding for schools.
State law requires the decision to be made 18 months before a school year starts — and tomorrow is the deadline for making that decision. Republicans want to get rid of the law and, instead, set the level of general state aid to schools once every two years. Representative Mary Mascher, a Democrat from Iowa City, and Republican Representative Ron Jorgensen of Sioux City quarreled about it during House debate thjs morning.
“You don’t follow the current law. Why would you follow this one?” Mascher asked.
Jorgensen replied: “My intent is to follow this one.”
Mascher continued: “Oh, so you’re going to pick and choose which laws you follow? Wow.”
Jorgensen continued: “I am going to pas a law that I believe is in the best interest of the taxpayers of this state and school districts.”
The bill Jorgensen and other Republicans in the House passed isn’t going to be debated in the Senate where Democrats control the debate agenda. Democrats propose a six-percent increase in general state funding for schools for the academic year that begins in the fall of 2015. Representative Jorgenson said it’s no wonder school officials are lined up behind that plan.
“When you have a situation where somebody offers you a Cadillac or a Chevy, obviously they’re going to choose the Cadillac,” Jorgenson said.
That comment drew condemnation from Democrats, like Representative Bruce Hunter of Des Moines.
“Governor Branstad said that we should be a Cadillac state, that we should have world-class education and you can’t do that with Chevy budgets,” Hunter said.
The Iowa legislature voted last year to boost the general level of state support for schools by two percent for the current school year and by four percent during the school year that begins this fall.