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Steckman: House approved $11.6 million in mental health transition funds

Legislator Sharon Steckman
Legislator Sharon Steckman

From Rep. Sharon Steckman –

Some things I know now that I didn’t know before:

– Any veteran from anywhere in the country is allowed to pay in-state tuition rates
– Iowa State is ranked 7th most efficiently run university in the U.S. It also boasts a 90% placement rate for graduates
– The Princeton Review ranked UNI as a “Best Business School” for the 7th year. 92% of UNI students are from Iowa and 74% stay in Iowa
– University of Iowa boasts the 2nd lowest resident undergrad tuition rate in the Big 10 and is listed in Kiplingers’ “Top 10 Best Values

Regarding the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program:

– 14% of kids plan on pursuing STEM careers while 59% of parents say their kids will pursue STEM careers
– The U.S. has a 600,000 skills gap in those fields
v38,000 more IA students are now enjoying STEM programs that did not exist last year.

Iowa Public Television

– KDIN (Des Moines) is the most watched public TV station in the nation
– 2 million tune in every month

We are now 1/3 of the way through this session. While education has been a dominant issue, today (Feb. 15) is the last day, under law, to set allowable growth for school districts for 2015. We have not as yet set the figure for 2014!

The Education Committee met until 12:30 a.m. Thursday morning in order to pass the Governor’s Reform Bill out of committee. None of the minority party’s amendments were accepted. The bill has been dramatically scaled back by the majority party, mostly due to reluctance to fund the initiatives.

It is expected that the bill will be debated in the House on Wednesday, February 20.

Meanwhile, the House approved $11.6 million in mental health transition funds to continue critical mental services in some counties. However, the bill falls well short of the $20 million promised last year and needed to continue services statewide. With mental health so much in the national spotlight, I find it discouraging that we chose not to fully fund Iowa services.

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