Pella Chronicle

February 20, 2013

Capitol Update for February 20

Guy Vander Linden
The Chronicle

Pella — Tuesday night we began debate on the House Floor for the Governor’s education reform bill, House File 215. After hours of debate and consideration of over forty amendments, the House passed the bill Wednesday morning, 52-44, and it will move to the Senate for their consideration. Since 1992, Iowa’s students have fallen from first in the nation to the middle of the pack. Iowa students deserve the best education possible and this bill provides the flexibility schools need to ensure a great education. It allows for school districts to test students in ways other than bubble sheets in hopes of giving teachers and administrators the feedback and tools they need to allow their students to excel.

Not only does this bill give school districts more flexibility to tailor to their students’ needs, it also creates greater opportunities for Iowa teachers. This bill creates a career pathways plan that provides incentives for teachers in high-needs schools as well as utilizing the skills of the best teachers to enhance the performance of the entire school district. Iowa needs to have an environment that attracts and retains the best teachers, especially those that study at Iowa colleges and universities.

At full implementation, this bill would be a record investment in Iowa schools and teachers of $157 million. Supplemental State Aid (formerly known as Allowable Growth) would provide an additional $69 million in Fiscal Year 2014 and $43 million in Fiscal Year 2015. With that, the bill promises the state will pick up the resulting property tax increase of around $8 million in each of the next two years, protecting property tax payers.