There was angry debate Wednesday in the Iowa House Education Committee as Republicans and Democrats battle over how much state money to spend on K-12 schools next year.
Republicans say the state cannot afford the four percent increase approved by Senate Democrats. Representative Greg Forristall, a Republican from Macedonia, suggested a salary freeze for teachers would free up more money for new textbooks and other school initiatives.
“The federal government is telling us that farmers will make 3 percent less in this coming year,” he said. “…Maybe this is the year that teachers could just accept last year’s salary.”
Representative Sharon Steckman, a Democrat from Mason City, is a retired school teacher and she accused Republicans of trying to “get rid of public education” in Iowa.
“Asking teachers to accept last year’s salaries I find quite interesting because there are places in our state budget that we haven’t even talked about cutting,” Steckman said.
The Republican-led committee then voted, again, for increasing general state aid to public schools by one-and-a-quarter percent for the next academic year.