2-7-08press-mccarthy5.jpgHouse and Senate leaders today firmly stated their intention to continue the progress made in education last year by increasing basic state aid to schools, increasing teacher pay and expanding access to quality pre-school. The lawmakers also said they planned to approve a rigorous and relevant curriculum to make sure every Iowa student is ready for a job in today’s global economy.

“Students, parents and teachers can be assured that we will not back away from the promises we made last year. We took the first step with a $112 million increase in allowable growth, which is $222 per student, and we will provide an additional $76 million to bring teacher salaries to 25th in the nation,” said House Speaker Pat Murphy of Dubuque.

“Democrats are committed to making sure every Iowa child has the job skills needed to succeed in the 21st century by ensuring a quality education. The Iowa core curriculum will be complete this year for our k-12 schools and we will work to implement that curriculum within the next four years,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal.

“We know that preschool is a wise investment that improves student achievement and gives kids a better chance of success,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “The first year of our preschool initiative was a resounding success with 4,500 kids participating and we will fund the second year of the program with $15 million next year. The allowable growth bill we approved also contains $33 million for the new preschool foundation aid formula that will ensure local preschool programs will continue every year.”

“We’ve seen a blizzard of Republican proposals to spend money on a dizzying array of projects other than education over the last year. That’s why we feel the need to reassure Iowans that this Democratic Legislature will keep our commitments to education and produce a balanced budget this year,” said Senate President Jack Kibbie.

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