State leaders to pass education budget

The Iowa legislature seeking to approve budget for 2016 school year

By Morgan Briesmaster | mbriesmaster@whbf.com

Published 06/01 2015 10:44PM

Updated 06/01 2015 10:44PM

It looks like Davenport schools will come up short in the fight for more education money.
 
That's after state lawmakers took the wraps off their new budget earlier Monday. 
 
The deal reached Friday essentially funds public schools at the compromise offered by Democrats with some limitations.
 
The compromise reached by state lawmakers on education falls short of the number Davenport claims it needed to avoid any cuts without dipping into reserves. Now, the district looks like it might be on a collision course with the law.
 
"It's really hard to watch our kids get less," said Thea IntVel who is a teacher and has four kids of her own in Davenport schools.
 
She goes along with so many in the community who've been pushing for equal student funding throughout the state.
 
This budget deal doesn't deliver that, but school board members say they will continue to fight.
 
"We cannot sit back and rest," said Rich Clewell, the Vice President of the Davenport Community School Board.
 
Clewell is disappointed with the compromise.
 
The plan would provide each school in the state an additional 80 dollars per student than the current school year.
 
For Davenport, that means spending $6,446 on every student.
 
Democrats and republicans were divided all session on the increase. Republicans wouldn't budge from a 1.25 percent increase. Democrats originally wanted four percent, then offered a compromise of 2.625 percent. 
 
Under the deal, the republican number would be built into the ongoing budget, but there's a one-time only influx of more than $55.2 million to get to the compromised number.
 
That money  would be split according to a funding formula. Schools could spend it on textbooks or technology, not teacher' salaries.
 
"we are somewhat deflated, but we're not defeated," Clewell continued.
 
Clewell says the school board now intends to follow through on Superintendent Art Tate's promise to break state law and dip into the district's reserves.
 
Representative Cindy Winckler tells Local 4 News the special request that would let districts do this legally doesn't seem likely to pass.
 
"Knowing that we're getting held back for reasons that seem unjustified, is frustrating," IntVeld said.
 
The state budget for education in 2016 was supposed to be passed two years ago.
 
A vote in the House and Senate could come Tuesday or Wednesday, and funding for the 2017 school year is up for debate Tuesday, as well.

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