School-BusA flurry of high-level negotiations at the statehouse today may have yielded a tentative agreement on how to resolve the impasse over state funding of public schools.

According to the Facebook post of Representative Art Staed, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, the tentative deal would give K-12 schools a 1.25 percent increase in general state aide for the next school year — the Republican bargaining position since January — along with a one-time boost of $55 million in state support — so the total amount of new money would equal what Democrats in the legislature had been seeking.

“From our perspective it is absolutely necessary to keep our rural schools open,” says Senator Brian Schoenjahn, a Democrat from Arlington who leads a subcommittee that’s been wrestling with education funding issues. “I think this is serious funding.”

School officials, by state law, had to certify their districts’ budgets for the next school year by April 30. Since legislators had failed to make the decision on school funding by then, Iowa superintendents issued more than 1130 layoff notices to teachers and staff last week.