Legislative Report (Vol XXIV No 15) April 25, 2005 Standings Bill Continues AEA Cuts
The House today approved HF 882, the standings appropriation bill. Included in this bill, as we assumed it would be, was the continuation of the $11.8 million AEA reduction from the previous year. An amendment was filed by Rep. Ro Foege, D- Mt. Vernon and Rep. Lisa Heddens, D- Ames to decrease the reduction by $4 million, which would have equaled the approximate funding reduction in federal Part B funding. Also speaking in support of the amendment was Rep. Mary Gaskill, D- Ottumwa.
The bills' floor leader Rep. Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock opposed the amendment and asked the body to reject it. The bill failed on a voice vote.
Other educational issues within the bill included:
- An additional $9 million for the teacher quality program to be used for an additional second contract day for teachers. In total there is $17.8 to fund the two days.
- A $1million reduction to the previously appropriated early childhood funding.
- A $200,000 appropriation to the DE to fund HF 873, the DE/AEA study of sharing in schools.
School Sharing Study Passes House
The bill initiated by the governance subcommittee on education to create a system for AEAs and the DE to facilitate discussions between school officials, relating to sharing or increased efficiency opportunities with other entities, passed the House this week.
Due to the responsibilities inherent within the bill for AEAs and the DE a fiscal note was submitted estimating the cost to facilitate the mandates of the bill at between $325,000 and $470,000. As reported in the standings bill above only $200,000 was appropriated. An amendment by Rep. Roger Wendt, D-Sioux City to increase the funding to $325,000 was defeated.
Along with the DE we have expressed our displeasure at the limited funding to accomplish the goals of this bill. We will continue to voice our concern to the Senate if they decide to take up the bill.
Today marked the final scheduled day of the session, not however the official end to the session. When adjournment is to come is still anybody's guess. The evenly split Senate seems no closer to agreement then on day one of the session. All of the major bills are now in the Senate awaiting action, whenever that might be. The best guess at this time is that adjournment will be in a week to a week and a half.