The Iowa House passed an education reform bill early Wednesday morning on a 52-44 party line vote. The legislation, HF 215, would change how teachers are recruited, paid, evaluated and promoted. It was debated until just before midnight on Tuesday before the required midnight cut-off for debate.
The Republican-led Iowa House provided 2 percent allowable growth funding for school districts in fiscal years 2014 and 2015. House Democrats pushed for 4 percent. Education reform is one of Governor Branstad’s top priorities for the 2013 legislative session. He wants to sign a reform bill before the legislature takes up the allowable growth issue.
The House bill also raised beginning teacher pay from $28,000 to $32,000. The total cost of the bill is around $157 million.
Amendments added to the bill Tuesday night included:
-Allowing homeschooling parents to teach drivers’ education
-Removing assessment requirements for homeschoolers
-Removing a requirement for homeschooling families to file CPI forms to local school districts
-Reinforcing local control over school districts
HF-215 will be sent to the Democrat-controlled Iowa Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.
Reaction from lawmakers:
Speaker Kraig Paulsen: “Last summer, House Republicans committed to Iowa voters that they would focus on education reform by developing bold ideas that bring accountability and innovation to Iowa’s education system. House File 215 fulfills this commitment to Iowans. We are investing in a strategy that brings the best practices of high-performing school districts to all of our schools and provides flexibility to local school boards to implement innovative ideas.”
Governor Branstad: “This morning, the Iowa House passed an education reform plan that will set us on a path to again have the nation’s best schools. This plan will give our teachers a new, 21st century system designed to reward their efforts and ensure great teaching in every classroom. Most importantly, this reform means our students will have the skills they need to compete with their peers across the globe.”
Lt. Governor Reynolds: “I want to commend the House in passing this legislation, which shows legislators are serious about passing meaningful education reform that again makes Iowa a national leader. The broad, statewide support this reform enjoys is the result of years of input and consensus building. We now turn our attention to the Senate, and we will work with them to ensure our reform efforts move forward.”
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