“Tentative Agreement” on School Aid Could Break Impasse on Adjournment

May 7, 2015

A tentative agreement on basic state aid for K-12 schools has been reached at the statehouse.

 A disagreement between the House and Senate has stood in the way of adjournment of the 2015 session. 

An aide says Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal have reached a tentative deal, which will now be presented to rank and file legislators.     

Senate Education Budget Chair Brian Schoenjahn says schools would get a roughly 100 million dollar increase in basic state aid, but about half of that would be a one-time bonus. 

Schoenjahn says it’s the “best they can do.”

“From our perspective it is absolutely necessary to keep our rural schools open,” Schoenjahn says.

Speaker Paulsen says he met repeatedly with the Democratic leader, but Paulsen wouldn’t call the deal a formal offer.  

A partisan battle over funding kept the Iowa Legislature in session beyond their scheduled adjournment on May 1.

Schoenjahn says the deal gives schools the one-point-two-five percent increase Republicans sought, with a one-time appropriation of 55 million to close the gap with Democrats.     

“This is serious funding,” Schoenjahn says.

School aid is a critical piece of the more than seven-billion-dollar state budget lawmakers must approve before they adjourn.