Within hours on the same day (3 p.m.), the House offered a response agreeing to a two-year extension of the block grant (to line up with the two-year budgeting cycle) and insisting on the House’s ladder program and the other provisions in House File 215. One week later (April 25), as I write this column, there has been no response from the Senate on that proposal.
This is what has happened in a nutshell. The House has moved to the Senate’s numbers on allowable growth and has agreed to continue funding the block grant. The Senate has yet to give ground on any significant policy issues. The House has made good faith proposals showing we are willing to work and meet the Senate halfway on several of their concerns.
What cannot be compromised, however, is the House version of the leadership pathway plan, a plan that was given to the Legislature by a Task Force that the Legislature put together last year to study the issue. It is a plan that is effectively in place in other parts of the country; A plan that the Federal Government has issued grants to further implement around the country; And a plan that was put together by a broad coalition of education stakeholders over the summer last year.
Furthermore, the House cannot compromise on policy that protects parental choice in education and will not back down on measures that help to ensure accountability and academic achievement after $400 million worth of additional funding are invested in Iowa’s educational system.
House File 215 provides all of this. It is time for the Senate leadership to quit dragging its feet and using this issue as a political football. The House has proven that it stands ready to resolve the differences surrounding education funding and reform. We have been earnest in our efforts to get things done for the people of Iowa, especially on Education. How about the Senate? Please review the above timeline once more and decide for yourself.