State lawmakers may have finally made some progress on reforming Iowa’s classrooms, but there is no deal yet.
Wednesday, both democrats and republicans walked away from negotiations frustrated, but after Thursday’s meeting there’s more optimism lawmakers are moving closer to an agreement.
Republicans told democrats, if you don’t like our plan, give us yours. So Thursday, democrats did just that, offering a counter-proposal. Late Thursday afternoon, republicans then offered a counter-counter-proposal.
Then in perhaps the biggest development of the day both sides agreed on funding for the next two years, expanding on-line learning, and giving districts $31 million to reduce classroom sizes.
There are still a few places where the counter-proposals differ, senate democrats insist on making starting salary for teachers at least $35-thousand a year. House republicans upped their offer to $33,500
Senate democrats maintain teacher leadership programs should be mandatory. House republicans still want it voluntary.
And republicans stand behind their plan to let home school families teach their kids drivers-ed. Senate democrats oppose that too.
We have to wait to hear when the bipartisan group of lawmakers will meet again to try to push for their final agreements.