PAY CUT: Less Money For Teachers

Iowa lawmakers have many different ideas about how much money they should pay their starting teachers. A department of education task force had recommended beginning teachers make $40-45,000.

Governor Terry Branstad’s education reform proposal recommended $35,000. Some house Republicans now back their effort to limit the salary to $32,000 for new teachers.

Iowa City Representative Mary Mascher, a Democrat and former teacher said, “House Republicans gutted the governor’s education proposal.” Mascher said Thursday the lower salary will do nothing to help the state attract teachers because Iowa’s $28,000 minimum starting salary puts it 45th in the country.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, a Republican from Shell Rock, said lawmakers understand reforms will cost money. But he insists that any ideas involving more money also include requirements for improved standards. Dix said, “It’s going to require taxpayer money. And we’re supportive of that. But we need to make sure we’re putting policies in place that will actually improve student achievement.”

The Iowa Senate did pass a bill that would increase state funding for schools. The senate voted 26 to 22 along party lines in favor of increasing allowable growth by 4-precent for the 2014-2015 school year.

The vote goes against Governor Branstad’s request that lawmakers approve an education reform plan first. The bill would increase spending by over $130 million.

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