EDUCATION REFORM: Deal Not Reached Yet

The education reform battle continues at the Iowa Statehouse.

Wednesday, House Republicans offered a compromise to a plan before the House and Senate Conference Committee but Democrats say their “my-way-or-the-highway approach” is detrimental to Iowa’s education system.

The Republican proposal would give a two-percent increase in allowable growth for 2014 as well as a one-time payment equivalent to two-percent growth. It would also raise allowable growth to four-percent for fiscal year 2015.

Democrats are unhappy with a part of the plan that would keep intact the policy language and appropriations for the original bill, House File 215. They say the that makes education reform “optional.”

A statement from Sen. Herman Quirmbach and Rep. Sharon Stechman, both Democratic members of the conference committee, says “We are disappointed that House Republicans have drawn a line in the sand by requiring that we accept 100 percent of their questionable changes in education policy or else they won’t support increasing education funding.”

Republican representative Ron Jorgensen says, “This compromise plan offers flexibility for school districts, accountability for parents and protection for taxpayers.”

Republicans had originally wanted only a two-percent increase in allowable growth, while Democrats were pushing for four-percent.

The next meeting of the conference committee has not been scheduled yet.