Educators ‘At Wits End’ With Lack of School Funding Budget

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DES MOINES, Iowa--Debating the school funding budget at the statehouse has hit a standstill and educators are fed up.

“Administrators and board members are just at their wit's end,” says Gale Howsare with the Iowa Association of School Boards.

Howsare says the lack of action is creating tremendous pressure for districts that must have their budgets certified in a little over two weeks.

“We`re having to spend time on developing multiple scenarios, having to wait to do some things because we don`t know and it makes it extremely, it`s just frustrating,” says Howsare.

The Senate Democrats are pushing for a 4-percent increase while the Governor and House Republicans want 1.25-percent.

Negotiations are stalling and lawmakers are well past the original deadline.

“The expectation is we have to follow timelines we have to follow the law and then we have our state leaders setting a model of not doing any of those things,” says Howsare.

The Iowa State Education Association agrees.

“The legislature set a law, they refuse to follow it and they`re forcing other people to break the law to do what`s right for kids,” says Mary Jane Cobb with the ISEA.

ISEA is supporting Davenport Superintendent Art Tate who plans to use money from the school district's 29-million dollar reserve account.

That would violate state law because the district is spending more than they are legally allowed.

“It`s courageous of him to stand up and be the leader and I think he may be a leader because I think we may see other superintendents and other boards look at their books and say maybe we need to follow what Davenports doing,” says Cobb.

Cobb says superintendents are forced to make decisions with no information to back them up.

“There having to certify their budgets and there having to make staffing decisions and they don`t know what to make those decisions based on.”

Both educators are hoping action is done soon, but aren't holding their breath.

“There`s enough pressure to the jobs that we do running the schools without having someone add unnecessary pressure because they fail to act appropriately,” says Howsare.

Both associations support a four percent increase.

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