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Branstad levels vetoes on range of spending bills; Dem’s furious at education funding snub

This news story was published on July 3, 2015.
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Iowa capitol

Iowa capitol

DES MOINES – Larger class sizes, fewer educators, and higher property taxes. That’s what Democrats are saying Governor Terry Branstad’s veto of millions in education spending means for the people of Iowa.

Branstad struck down a number of compromised bi-partisan spending bills Thursday, sending Democrats into furious backlash as they watched much of the excruciating work they accomplished this spring and summer go for nothing.

Teachers, educators, administrators and Democratic leaders took to social media to voice their outrage over the governor’s vetoes. One Iowa teacher wrote “let him come walk a mile in our shoes and see how he likes it” regarding his veto of education spending for grade schools.

Iowa Representative Sharon Steckman described the vetoes as “A sad, sad commentary on the value of Iowa children. It literally makes me sick”. With state funding shut off, schools will likely need to go to voters to ask for more local tax dollars.

In a statement, Iowa Democrats said “As a result of his vetoes, Iowa students could face overcrowded classrooms, fewer teachers and limited opportunities this upcoming year. Meanwhile, Iowans who depend on the vital services and supports offered at the mental health facilities now will have to look elsewhere for care.”

Here is the governor’s explanation for the education funding veto:

“I recommended a two-year budget on the second day of this legislative session including an increase in supplemental state aid for both years. Throughout the session, I encouraged the legislature to provide supplemental state aid for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade for the next two years as required by law. By using one-time money and not providing supplemental state aid for the second fiscal year, the legislature compounded the uncertainty that school districts faced this entire legislative session.

“My administration’s commitment to giving Iowa students a world-class education is demonstrated by significant, targeted growth in funding for initiatives to raise achievement. Iowa’s new Teacher Leadership System is the single largest reform measure, with an investment of more than $150 million when fully phased in during the 2016-2017 school year. With many of our best teachers serving in leadership roles, such as instructional coaches and mentors, Iowa can better support the more demanding work teachers must do today to prepare all students for a knowledge-driven economy.

“Other targeted education reform measures my administration proposed for the next fiscal year at a cost of more than $18 million include: an initiative to ensure children are able to read by the end of third grade, ongoing expansion of Iowa Learning Online program to offer more course options to high school students, and the Teach Iowa Scholars Program which provides up to $20,000 to top graduates of Iowa teacher preparation programs who teach hard-to-fill subjects in Iowa schools for five years.

“With any budget, it is important to look at the entire picture. For fiscal year 2016, Iowa schools will receive over $3 billion, by far the biggest item in the state budget.”

Iowa schools were not the only ones who were left out of the funding. Rep. Steckman said this full list includes:

HF 666 – One-time funding bill (all vetoed below)
• $55.7 million for k-12 schools
• $1.8 million to keep Clarinda MHI open
• $2.3 million for substance abuse treatment
• $310,000 for transition costs to new Ft. Madison facility
• $2.5 million for community colleges
• $2.8 million for the UI
• $2.2 million for ISU
• $1.1 million for UNI

HF 651 – E911
• Vetoed language to improve communication between local emergency providers
SF 499 – Economic Development Budget
• Vetoed language to ensure administrative law judges can operate free from political influence

SF 505 – HHS
• Vetoed language to prevent a private managed care company from charging additional fees for services
• Vetoed expanding eligibility for child care assistance to more Iowans
• Vetoed language that could have kept Clarinda open under private management
• Vetoed funding for Mt. Pleasant MHI

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14 Responses to Branstad levels vetoes on range of spending bills; Dem’s furious at education funding snub

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 3, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Vote Trump !! Yahooooo !!

  2. Watchdog Reply Report comment

    July 3, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    LVS wins the day on this one. Anon…. if you want to see “fat cats” go hang out with all your Teachers, educators, administrators and Democratic friends.

    To try and lay blame for this budget on Republicans in general is pure nonsense.

    Reading the Governor’s explanation and following the budget issues in Iowa I have to agree with Governor Branstad, and I am no fan of Branstad either.

    AS far as Iowa Representative Sharon Steckman’s dribble, her comments were really pathetic!

    • maybe 2.0 Reply Report comment

      July 3, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      Wow, you and LVS have the same viewpoint, who would have thunk it? And LVS didn’t win squat.

      You two won’t comment on Branstad’s massive support of big business, so you deflect.
      “Yes sir master Terry, whatever you say master Terry.”

      The budget (finally & good or bad) was worked out by both Dems & Repubs, but no Branstad needed to veto so he could make sure there was enough money for his big business buddies paybacks.

    • Anonymous....... Reply Report comment

      July 3, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      Watchdog-I have hung out with the teachers and school educators, yes they make a good living but live modestly compared to big company executives. You can say all you want but you cannot convince me that it is ethical to give a privately held company, that is worth billions of dollars, millions of dollars in tax payers money to help them add onto their corporate office yet not support our schools and the state mental hospitals . As far as Democrats go, i am not a big fan, I vote for the person not the party. I think that the governor is only looking out for himself and his big company executive buddies.

  3. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 3, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Its for the kids – yea right! – want to see the elite group? go to a school parking lot and look at all the new cars. BS

    • OhOh Reply Report comment

      July 4, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      The new cars belong to the rich kids. The ones that are 6-7 years old belong to the teachers.

    • OhOh Reply Report comment

      July 4, 2015 at 7:08 pm

      Look at SF499. He vetoed that one to make sure his buddies in business can still shape the law to suit their purposes.

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        July 4, 2015 at 8:19 pm

        @OhOh-Can’t argue with that except to say all politicians do that. It is what is wrong with our system. The damn lobbiest buy them off with donations and gifts and they make decisions based on the favors they owe. Everyone knows it but no one does anything about it.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 3, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Cry me a river you fat cats !!

    • Anonymous........... Reply Report comment

      July 3, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      The Republicans and their special interest groups are the biggest fat cats of all!
      Leave it to the Republicans to take money away from school Kids!

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        July 3, 2015 at 1:45 pm

        @Anonymous-Bull Crap. They have plenty of money. They just need to learn to manage it. All this does is limit the INCREASE. They have as much money as ever and a little more. Maybe the overpaid teachers will have to go without. Or, maybe they will have to get rid of some of those managers who manage nothing. I can remember when there was one superintendent and one secretary with a hell of a lot more kids. And one principle and a vice principle ran the whole high school with three times as many kids. Time to put them to work for their money.

        • Anonymous........... Reply Report comment

          July 3, 2015 at 2:05 pm

          I can agree with some of your post but I do not agree with some of the governors moves. As an example he gave Hy-Vee, a 7 billion dollar company, 7.5 million to help them add onto their corporate office in West Des Moines. This was a political payback as his campaign manager was a former Hy-Vee executive. He can justify giving a fat cat special interest group millions of dollars but cannot give 1.8 million to keep a mental institute running. I agree schools need to work within their budget but some schools in Iowa are struggling.

          • LVS

            July 3, 2015 at 4:00 pm

            @Anonymous-I couldn’t agree with you more when it comes to giving HyVee tax payers dollars. It just shouldn’t be allowed. Special interest is tearing this country a part.