New Law Pushing Iowa Educators To Apply For Minnesota Teaching Jobs

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  It has been four days since Governor Terry Branstad signed the new collective bargaining bill--that limits contract negotiations to base salary for most public workers--into law.

Senator Nate Boulton voted against the bill and said, "The frustrating thing is what happened last week is we essentially told teachers they are not as important as other public employees and that's tragic."

Those are words Iowa teachers are taking to heart.

According to Joe Brown Sr., the Superintendent of the Fairmont School District in Minnesota, just eleven miles north of  the border, Iowa teachers hope to feel a warm embrace in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes."

Brown Sr. said, "I've received seven applications already from Iowa teachers who want to move to Minnesota, and from all parts of the state, I might add. Southwest, south central and southeast parts of the state of Iowa."

Superintendent Brown Sr., who served on the Iowa Senate Education Committee from 1983-1986, says his district has not posted any job openings. The amount of applications is even more staggering when you consider the hiring difficulties his district had a year ago.

"Last year we had a fifth grade opening and we had zero applicants. I had to recruit a teacher from a neighboring district," he said.

Despite Superintendent Brown's claim that Iowa educators are currently looking for teaching jobs in Minnesota, Republican Senator Amy Sinclair, who voted yes on the collective bargaining bill and is the chair of the Senate Education Committee, says a response from her would be speculation and refused to comment.

"Unfortunately it's the reality now," said Sen. Boulton. "Teachers are worried about their benefits, the future of their ability to practice the profession they love."

It's love Brown Sr. says they could find north of the border.  "We are going to gain, there's no question about it. We are going to gain teachers and Iowa is going to lose them."

Senator Boulton and many others are still holding out hope.

"The teachers we have will persevere in the long term and they will find a way through this, too, but it's an unfortunate setback."