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Rep. Steckman unhappy with school funding and Upmeyer’s denying use of visual aids during debate

Sharon Steckman

DES MOINES – Iowa Representative Sharon Steckman sounded off today about what she calls inadequate school funding and a top Republican legislator denying her the use of visual aids during debate and possibly infringing on her First Amendment rights.

Mrs. Steckman’s statement:

On Monday of this week, we debated late into the night on state supplemental aid for our public schools and one-half million kids. In the end, I voted against a 1.1% increase in funding to schools.

The proposed 1.1% is the third lowest increase since 1973 and half of what was recommended by the Governor. A recent survey of superintendents found that any funding increase below 2% would force schools to raise class size (71%); lay off teachers (61%); delay textbook purchases (65%) and reduce offerings for kids (58%).

This increase amounts to about $73 per student which would buy one-half of a textbook. Districts have had eight consecutive years of budget decline, averaging about 1.8% per year. Administrators say they need 3 to 3.5% just to stay above water.

I argued during debate that the issue is not about low revenues; it’s about priorities. Our revenue has increased approximately 4.8% while the increase in aid amounts to only 16% of those new revenues. A major concern for me is the large tax breaks that have been awarded to out-of-state companies during recent years, while we have seen the lowest investments in public schools in our history.

I’m disappointed that the majority party refused to compromise with the Governor and do what is best for our schools. The future of our economy depends on a highly skilled workforce and investing in our public schools is essential to building the workforce we need.

As a sidebar, I would like to note that we spent an hour before debate began on school funding, discussing whether or not it would be permissible to show visual aids during debate. I have frequently used charts, such as the one shown below, to illustrate a point. A new rule forbidding the use of such charts during debate was added to House rules. I checked all forty-nine other states and not one has such a rule. It is a truism that a picture is worth a thousand words!

Earlier this week, Rep. Steckman said via social media she had been curtailed in her presentations in the Capitol.

Rep. Linda Upmeyer

“Speaker (Linda) Upmeyer has censored visual aids on the House floor. These are images that can be used on social media to help educate people about what she does not want them to see.”

Earlier, she said there was a debate that was launched about “a new rule that says anyone wanting to use a visual aid in debate must first get approval of the Speaker of the House….not one other State has this rule…smacks of 1st amendment rights!”

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Everything goes up in cost year to year and funding for our schools is no different. We should find a means of doing this automatically yearly without the political BS that goes along with it. Heck the cost of my bread, insurance, newspaper, rent and the list goes on have all gone up year to year.

Upmeyer will allow visual aids when a fellow Republican wants to discuss abortion.

her visual aid is a road map for Driving in the Ditch .

There is absolutely no reason why visuals aids can not be used unless you don’t want to make responsible decisions. Both parties need to start working for the people they represent and not the party they belong to.

They just can’t seem to understand that we have had it with their increases every year after year with no improvement in the results. The school system are way to top heavy and need to trim down their administration costs. That does not mean cut a low level teacher or a janitor. It means administrative assistants and high level people. They have less and less kids but need more and more management. Business can’t operate that way and neither should the schools.

They need to go to 0 base budgeting and show us where this money is being spent, get rid of top heavy administration expense and a lot of problems will be solved. The teachers are not the problem, they are not getting paid enough, it is the administration costs that are out of control.

The time of blindly throwing money at Schools and getting worse results has to come to and end. They got an increase, live with it, I wish my wages would go up every year but they have been flat for years, I have to live with that. They cry not enough money every year, yet they all keep putting additions on to their schools and every June when they have to spend the rest of their state money or they lose it they spend like crazy on things they don’t really need so they don’t lose money the next year. The system is broke.

That’s not the way school funding works. Money provided to the school for new construction comes from a completely different fund than the money used for paying teachers and classroom costs. And the different areas of funding cannot be legally used for anything than their specific purpose. If they don’t do any new construction, they can’t take the construction money and use it towards salaries. That’s why you’ll see a school building a new football stadium while firing teachers. This 1.1% funding increase doesn’t even cover the yearly cost of inflation, and it’s ridiculous.

what about the last 10 years when there was very little or even deflation, why the private sector was being beat to death, and they just kept getting increase of everything! Wages, days off, free healthcare!
People have had enough of working for our public servants

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