Rock and a hard place: Still no education budget deal
Community leaders met in Waverly Friday to discuss the ongoing education budget hangups.
By State law, the Iowa Legislature is required to set that budget within 30 days of the Governor's budget. Thursday, they missed that deadline, because the Republican-controlled House and Democratic Senate can't agree on the percentage. Districts across Iowa had to lay-off about 1000 teachers as a result, unsure if they could pay them in the coming year.
It's an issue that's left many feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place. Friday, the Waverly Schools superintendent and other community leaders met with State Senators Liz Mathis and and Brian Schoenjahn. Ironically, workers with a crane worked just outside the school to remove a literal rock from the dirt from the ground, to be used as a veteran's memorial by the service dog charity Retrieving Freedom.
Schoenjahn said their could be long-last effects of this budget delay -- including difficulties attracting talented teachers to Iowa.
"This is going to have very devastating and very real consequences in the long run," Schoenjahn said.
For parents, seeing teachers laid off at their children's schools is a frustrating hangup.
"Absolutely it is," said Jim Atty, a parent and also CEO for the Waverly Health Center. "I have a two year old daughter, and one more on the way. I want to make sure that the education I was the benefactor of is there for them."
That's what lawmakers say they need to come together and solve this dispute.
"I would say call the people who are representing you and tell them this is how you want them to represent you," said Mathis.
Outside -- some felt lawmakers could take a lesson from the construction workers, working together to accomplish their goal.
"Those are the same questions they wrastle with," said Cal Corson, of Waverly. "How can we serve out community, our children, our parents, our families? How can we best do that? Well we have to come together."
A fitting message, as Iowa students and teachers hang on the line.
"It's a lot of rock," Corson said. "We haven't moved it yet, but you haven't seen any of these guys give up."