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Legislative Report (Vol. XXV No. 15) April 21, 2006, Update

April 21, 2006

Negotiations Continue

Negotiations continued this week to attempt to reach an agreement that will allow the legislature to adjourn for the year. Little other work remains except for those items being negotiated. As reported last week, among the issues still being discussed are the following:

  • Allowable Growth Factor for 2007-08;
  • Additional funding for teacher salaries;
  • AEA funding restorations;
  • Funding to expand early childhood education for eligible 4-year-olds;
  • Tax incentives for charitable contributions to nonpublic schools;
  • Expanded tax credits for child care and early childhood education;
  • Providing "pay-for-performance" measured by student test scores or some other measure;
  • Providing additional pay for high school math and science teachers;
  • Converting the 180-day school calendar to an instructional hour requirement;
  • Setting a common starting date for schools no earlier than August 25 except for year-round schools;
  • Requiring the model PTA parent involvement policy and establishing parent liaison positions;
  • Establishing a state standards task force to review high school graduation requirements;
  • Adding career options to high school core curriculum plans for all students;
  • Providing state funding for some or all of the costs of Advanced Placement exams;
  • Expanding the teacher quality initiative to include school administrators;
  • Reauthorizing incentives for whole-grade sharing and school district mergers; and
  • Potential Tax cuts

With little else to occupy members, other than those involved in the negotiations, the legislature adjourned early this week. It is not certain at this time, but there is a possibility that they will not be called back until an agreement has been reached. There is a fear that if agreement is not reached soon negotiators may dig in even deeper and that the session could extend into May.

Latest Update

As of 9:00 AM today several sources have indicated that little progress has been made. These same sources say that “pay for performance,” and the size of possible tax cuts are the main sticking points. If anything new breaks today another newsletter will be sent out.

The following was posted on the Des Moines Register Web Site This AM:

“Statehouse negotiations over next year's state budget, including money for teacher pay increases, were on the verge of collapse after Republican and Democratic legislative leaders reached an impasse today over a GOP proposal to cut taxes for seniors by about $100 million.

Republicans want to phase out state taxes on Social Security benefits and reduce pension income taxes over six years.

Democrats contend the GOP plan would cut too deeply into state revenues, jeopardizing support for teacher salaries and other education priorities in future years.

Leaders of both parties said it was possible the Legislature would have to settle on a state budget that leaves out both higher teacher pay and tax cuts.”

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