On Monday, the Iowa Senate approved an education budget that invests $986 million, an increase of $87 million. The legislation will now be considered by the Iowa House.
“This education budget opens doors to higher education, increases the number of skilled Iowa workers, and expands our middle class,” said Senator Herman Quirmbach of Ames. “We increase support to community colleges - including Des Moines Area Community College - by $8 million and provides funding of $8 million to local schools to help children learning to read.”
“Crucially important to thousands of my constituents, we provide the funding that ISU, UNI and the U of Iowa need to freeze instate undergraduate tuition for a second straight year.” Senator Quirmbach continued, “This is a major accomplishment towards keeping college affordable and holding down student debt.”
This will be the first year of the new, bipartisan Teacher Leadership initiative, which was approved last year. “Teaching is a tough job, especially for beginning teachers,” said Quirmbach. “This budget provides extra dollars so experienced teachers can work with new teachers, as well as with teachers looking to improve their classroom results.”
The legislation, Senate File 2347, now goes to the Iowa House for its consideration.
Highlights helping beginning readers
Children have a lifelong advantage if they learn strong reading skills early in life. These dollars will fund intensive literacy programs for students in grades K-3 who are behind in reading. The Iowa Reading Research Center will receive $2 million to improve the teaching of literacy skills.
More funding for community colleges
This increase of $8 million will help keep tuition affordable at Iowa’s community colleges. These institutions are often the first step up into the middle class.
Boosting support for worker training
Reducing Iowa’s skilled worker shortage is critical to growing our economy. That includes targeting specific local skill shortage areas and training workers for those jobs. This funding includes $6 million in ACE funding and $5 million for the Kibbie Grant, which will help adults seeking certification in the most “in-need” career fields.
Expanding support for public universities
Iowa State, UNI and the University of Iowa are among the best public universities in the country. While helping Iowans get life-changing skills and professional education, these institutions are also sources of technological innovations that create jobs and economic growth.
An increase of $24 million for the Regents will continue the tuition freeze for in-state undergraduate students for a second year. Also, private college student aid is being increased so all Iowa students can keep pushing to reach their full potential.
Helping the next generation of Iowa teachers
Additional funding for the College Student Aid Commission’s Teach Iowa Scholars initiative will help attract the next generation of great Iowa teachers.
Keeping our commitment to Teacher Leadership
This is the first year of encouraging and financially supporting efforts to have Iowa’s most effective teachers share and exchange ideas with other teachers. The overall goal is to improve student achievement in every Iowa classroom.