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Investing in education is key to our future

Strong schools are a key to Iowa’s economic success. Our path to a high-wage Iowa future depends on the quality of our local schools.|(Press release from Sen. Amanda Ragan)

Strong schools are a key to Iowa’s economic success. Our path to a high-wage Iowa future depends on the quality of our local schools. Our children need the skills to take on available jobs, and we must assure new and expanding businesses that Iowa’s commitment to education is second to none.

The Iowa House has passed a bill giving schools no new funding for the next year. This is basic funding for our schools to operateómoney needed to turn the lights on, run the buses and pay salaries. With Iowa’s economy rebounding, it’s not the time to cut our investment in our children’s future.

What exactly does zero new funding mean for local school districts? We surveyed Iowa’s school superintendents to find out. More than 80 percent of superintendents said that if they receive no increase in funding, they’re considering laying off teachers and other staff, crowding more children into classrooms and raising property taxes.

I support a two percent increase in basic state aid to local schools. That’s an investment of an additional $60 millionóa wise use of our money when you consider that the state of Iowa will have almost $900 million in reserve and surplus funds at the end of this fiscal year.

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