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ALLOWABLE GROWTH: Senate Vote Wednesday

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Senate Democrats will vote Wednesday to set the state’s allowable growth rate at four-percent.

That’s against Gov. Terry Branstad’s plan. He wants to increase state aid to schools.

Monday, Department of Education director Jason Glass offered more details on the governor’s plan for education reform, including why he says it’s important to raise teacher salaries.

“High caliber individuals in our society have a number of different career options and so we want to make sure that teaching as a compensation element is among those considered options,” says Glass.

To make the teaching profession more attractive, the governor’s plan calls for raising starting base pay from $28,000 per year to $35,000 per year. To cover the cost of those raises and other reform measures, the state will give districts an extra $314 per student.

Democrats say the proposal is interesting, but they don’t want to debate it until they set the allowable growth rate for the next school year, something that’s required by law.  

“You can`t do your bargaining for teacher`s salaries, you can`t decide on what programs you`re going to have, you can`t decide on your class size if you have no idea what your funds will be,” says Rep. Sharon Steckman.

The governor wants to eliminate allowable growth and increase state aid to schools.