Rod Boshart
Published: January 29 2014 | 1:06 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:50 am in

Democrats on the Iowa Senate Education Committee passed two bills Wednesday that would boost base budgets and categorical funding by 6 percent for K-12 school districts in fiscal 2016. GOP senators who opposed the 6 percent increase for the 2015-16 joined a unanimous vote for local property taxes to be replaced by state dollars in the unlikely event that the 6 percent increase in allowable growth is passed by the split-control Legislature and signed by Gov. Terry Branstad. Earlier this week Branstad said state cannot afford to increase supplemental aid to K-12 public schools by 6 percent, or $222.5 million, in fiscal 2016 as Senate Democrats have proposed. Democrats who hold a 26-24 Senate majority plan to debate the measure on the floor next week, but Republicans who control the Iowa House by 53-47 have indicated they do not intend to address fiscal 2016 funding for elementary and secondary public schools until the 2015 session. Democrats say they plan to abide by Iowa’s forward-funding law that requires the Legislature to establish a future financing level for elementary and secondary schools within 30 days after the governor submits his budget plan – something Gov. Terry Branstad did on Jan. 14.


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