Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

April 18, 2013

Quick Conference Committee Meeting

Steve Woodhouse
Journal-Express

Des Moines — Very little happened in this morning's Education Conference Committee meeting. Sen. Amy Sinclair, a Republican, is a member of this committee and reported that the Democrats offered a proposal for education reform. 

The Democrats agreed to the House Republicans' funding proposal for Allowable Growth in fiscal years 2014-15. The House Republicans had proposed 2 percent allowable growth for the current year, plus a one-time 2 percent cash infusion, and 4 percent allowable growth in the next fiscal year. This ultimately matched what the Democrats had proposed. 

Listed on the Democrats' proposal is also a provision to link funding to $31 million for the Early Prevenion Program. Sinclair said this will not be a point of contention, as it is also included in the Republicans' proposal. 

Yesterday's meeting of the conference committee was limited to items that were not in contest. Sinclair, in her weekly report, expressed her thoughts on this. 

"We spent an hour nibbling around the edges of the issue without ever coming to a consensus. Worse than that, we never even had conversation regarding the heart of the issue on education reform," Sinclair wrote. 

After today's meeting, Sinclair joined her fellow Republicans in a caucus to discuss the issues with which there may be contention. The caucus was closed to the media and the public, though Sinclair was reluctant to turn the Journal-Express away. 

Those issues to be discussed include: 

 

3.    Retain Senate language on Teacher Pathways, including these key provisions:

       a.     Teacher Leadership Supplement at $400 per pupil.

       b.    Minimum teaching salaries at $35,000.

       c.     By 2016 – All school districts shall adopt a model of teacher compensation and career pathways.

       d.    Must have comparable model language and criteria.

       e.     Schools can choose one of four models, but every model must include key principles/criteria.

        f.      Local districts models and implementation decided by and oversight by State Commission (vs. DE).

        g.    Want Site-based local commissions to choose eligible teachers for mentors/leaders.  Teacher must have at     least one year of experience in the district and three years of experience overall in teaching.

        h.    Senate Amendment language about only implement what a district can afford with Teacher Leadership Supplement money from the state.

Debates for other Senate issues were scheduled for this afternoon. Sinclair was unsure if further education discussion would take place. 

Sinclair, and Rep. Greg Heartsill, are expected to take part in a legislative coffee Friday afternoon, April 19, at 4 p.m., at the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce. The public is invited to attend.