Education issues — including a big budget decision for Iowa’s 327 public school districts — have dominated debate at the Iowa Capitol this week.
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that will increase state per pupil spending by 2.5% for the next school year. Reynolds said that’s a “reasonable” $159 million bump. House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst and other Democrats disagree.
“We are incredibly disappointed with the inadequate funding for public schools in this state,” Konfrst said during a news conference Thursday.
A bill that would require the teaching of cursive writing has cleared the Senate Education Committee. The House Education Committee has approved a bill that would sanction an online program to license teachers. The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted for a bill that would land teachers in prison for up to two years if they’re found guilty of giving a student material some may find offensive.
Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, a Republican from Ankeny, said there are other alternatives from the governor and a GOP Senator that take a different approach, by requiring schools to be transparent about what’s on the shelves in the school library and what books are required reading for classes.
“Clearly there’s interest in trying to address what we consider a concern and a concern that parents have brought to us over and over again,” Whitver said during a news conference Thursday. “Which bill survives, it’s hard to say, but I would expect one of those bills to ultimately pass the Senate.”
Last night, the House Education Committee approved legislation giving liability protection to school districts warning others about a teacher who was fired or resigned after being accused of sexual misconduct with a student.