Iowa Senate Passes Plan to Increase School Spending

The Iowa Legislature

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Lawmakers are moving to increase state spending on schools.

The Iowa Senate has passed a plan to increase funding by 2.2 percent, or more than $150 for every student in the next school year.

Meanwhile, the House is looking at a plan to boost spending at an even higher level, 2.5 percent, which matches what Governor Kim Reynolds has called for.

Democrats have asked for the largest increase to school funding, 3.75 percent.

"We are at such a critical time when we can innovate education, and if we continue to underfund them, we won't be able to do that. Three-point-seven-five percent will allow schools to move forward and help create a workforce, " said Democratic Iowa State Senator Jackie Smith of Woodbury.

But calls from Democrats to provide more money to schools have been rejected by the Republican majority.

"Three-point-seven-five while maybe only an 85-Million dollar increase for this budget year would account to over 200-Million dollars in additional expenditures next year that would impact our ability to have stable sustainable funding into the future, " said Republican Iowa State Senator Amy Sinclair of Wayne.

The Senate plan also only provides the new money to districts that have followed the state's requirement for in-person classes during the pandemic, which notably eliminates Des Moines schools.

Republicans rejected a Democratic proposal to increase funding in the Senate bill by almost 60 percent.

The final vote for the Senate bill Tuesday night was 32-17, with one Democrat joining the Republican majority.

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