Iowa Democrats Say $108M Boost in K-12 Funding is Not Enough

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CLIVE, Iowa -- Public education in Iowa could be one step away from seeing an additional $108 million boost, but Iowa Democrats say that’s not good enough.

"I was disappointed by the fact the education funding wasn’t as high as it should be. I am frustrated that a lot of the issues seem to be a political win but not really wins for Iowans," said Democratic State Rep. Jennifer Konfrst of Windsor Heights. "We proposed an amendment that would have been 20 million extra dollars to schools to help with class sizes and the needs schools desperately have right now." That amendment was shot down by House Republicans.

On Wednesday, the House passed a bill that would increase K-12 funding by 2.5 percent in the fiscal year of 2021.  The House version is also $16 million more than the Senate version.  The increase would also provide nearly $8 million additional to address transportation inequities in rural school districts. In Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Condition of the State address, she requested lawmakers find an extra $101 million for Iowa's public schools.

Konfrst met with voters at the Clive Public Library Saturday morning, where education was a topic of discussion.  Some in attendance say it can even be a factor in how families school their children.

"Our family has gone the way of private school for our education, but it’s still important to us that public education is fully funded because these are our neighbors and the people we are working with. If we don’t have an educated population, there is no way we can grow and have the meaningful job opportunities in our state. Public education funding is a top priority," said Lauren Campbell, who lives in Windsor Heights.

The bill moves onto the Senate for consideration.  If passed, it would not take effect until July 1.

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