DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — The end of session is marked by lawmakers passing the state’s budget for the next fiscal year. On Wednesday, lawmakers looked at the state’s education budget.
“I truly believe that shortchanging Iowa’s students shortchanges Iowa’s future,” said Iowa State Senator Cindy Winckler, (D), District 49 from Davenport.
The bill increases funding by several million dollars overall. The bill appropriates $238 million to the state’s community colleges; $238,045,224 to the University of Iowa, where part of those funds will be used to beef up the College of Nursing. It appropriates $174,092,716 to Iowa State University and $99,408,923 to the University of Northern Iowa.
“I do want to reassure everyone, Republican or Democrat, that this budget is not starving anyone or anything. It’s not defunding education. It’s actually an increase of what we do have, we’ve got a $4.12 million increase,” said Iowa State Senator Jeff Taylor, (R), District 2, Sioux Center.
This is the first year that lawmakers look at an education budget with dollars already spoken for out of the state’s general fund for educational savings accounts. This education bill, while not having the funding for ESA’s, has corrections on the language of when students become eligible for those dollars.
“The fact remains that we have a lot of work to do here in Iowa for our students that need the most help. And then, you know, on top of that having other things like vouchers, sucking money out of our general fund did not help,” said Iowa State Senator Claire Celsi, (D), District 16 from West Des Moines.
The Iowa House also approved the education budget and sent it off to the governor’s desk for her signature.