DES MOINES, Iowa -- April 15th is known for being federal tax day, it is also the day for Iowa school districts to have budgets finalized for the coming year. So far state lawmakers have not come to an agreement on what the state should provide in terms of dollars to local districts. Republicans have offered an increase of 1.25%, while Democrats have been seeking a 4% increase.
Students and parents from the Southeast Warren School District came to the rotunda bearing signs such as "our kids are worth 4%," and "Protect Our Future Support Our Teachers." The students held signs in the capital rotunda, which is against the rules of the capital. After about 30 minutes, the signs were taken down as some students were ready to leave.
"I think our school is worth 4%," said Cheyenne Wallace, a student at SE Warren Schools. "We should get more money. we're already a little school, so we shouldn't cut art teachers."
The groups were hoping to meet later with elected representatives to discuss the state school aid. Some of the students and parents got to watch some of the floor debates. Many parents and kids spoke with reporters who gathered to cover the protest.
Cheyenne Wallace said the lobbying lawmakers was a first-time experience for her. ""It's something different, that I think is kind of cool to do," said Wallace.
Sara Preston said she had not paid much attention to state funding of schools until her kids came home talking about ending an art class and combining music classes with band. That got her involved, and heading for Des Moines with students to lobby for 4% increase in funds.
"It's very emotional," said Preston. "It has opened my eyes to how I vote, and who I vote for." She added she wanted to support her kids and their school. "We're not asking for a large amount, just asking for enough to pay for our teachers, pay for heating, to pay for electricity."
Southeast Warren Schools covers the towns of Liberty Center, Milo, and Lacona.