Little Lobbyists Ask for Increased School Funding

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Today is the deadline for Iowa schools to set their budgets for the next year. Until state lawmakers can agree, districts won’t know how much money they have to spend.

There was no movement in the stalemate over school funding at the statehouse. Today, lawmakers got a visit from some first-time lobbyists.

“It’s a very new experience,” said fourth grade student Cheyenne Wallace.

She and her classmates brought signs and lined the rotunda inside the Capitol.

“We should get more money because we're already a little school so we shouldn't cut out teachers,” Wallace said.

“They're talking about pulling art, music and library and band from the elementary schools,” said Southeast Warren parent Sara Preston.

Senate Democrats wanted to give public schools a 4% increase in state funding. They say they offered a compromise of 2.65% to get closer to the House Republican’s proposal of 1.25%. The difference between the two proposals is about $55 million.

“Hopefully, the taxpayers will understand that we want to be responsible with the money that they've given us and that's why we're working on a budget that lives within our means,” said Rep. Chuck Soderberg, R- Le Mars.

“That isn't going to be enough to give our kids a decent education,” said Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D- Ames.

Lawmakers say they will reach an agreement before the session adjourns. However, neither side is budging and both parties are blaming each other for the impasse.

“We acted on it quickly. We were hoping we would get a quick response from the Senate. That didn't happen,” Soderberg said.

“It's time for House Republicans to step up and do something other than just repeat 1.25, 1.25,” Quirmbach said.

Students in Des Moines also took part in today’s lobbying at the Capitol.