State leaders debate Iowa education plan - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

State leaders debate Iowa education plan

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State education leaders are outlining their plan to attract and keep high quality teachers in the classroom. 

The Governor's $187 million plan for education reform includes a salary bump and incentives for thousands of Iowa teachers.

"High caliber individuals in our society have a number of different career options and so we want to make sure that teaching as a compensation element is among those considered options," Iowa Education Director Jason Glass said.

Glass wants to raise the minimum salary to $35,000.

Teachers would also have the opportunity to earn a few thousand more by becoming model, mentor or lead teachers. Those opportunities could add up to $10,000 more a year.

"If teachers were selected into these roles, they would be provided that one year stipend, have the additional responsibilities and then it would be up to the teacher to demonstrate competence in order to maintain that position going forward," Glass said.

The new leadership and compensation proposal would cost the state $150 million.

Each district would receive roughly $300 for those requirements and the remainder could be used as the district wishes.

But some state democrats say education reform needs to take a back seat.

"We need to pass allowable growth now," State Sen. Herman Quirmbach of Ames said. "We have to keep the lights on and the gas in the bus and ordering pencils and all of that stuff that schools have to do." 

"You can't do your bargaining for teacher's salaries, you can't decide on what programs you're going to have, you can't decide on your class size if you have no idea what your funds will be," State Sen. Sharon Steckman said. "We can't short change our schools."

This week, Iowa democrats are prepared to pass four percent allowable growth for schools.

The Iowa Senate is expected to vote on the matter on Wednesday.

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