|Eggs and Issues for February 9, 2013|
|Saturday, 09 February 2013 09:59|
Look for more discussion on how to fund Iowa's schools in the Iowa Legislature in the coming weeks.That was one of the first topics to come up at the political forum "Eggs and Issues" at Smokey Row in Oskaloosa Saturday morning. It's the third "Eggs and Issues" to be held this legislative session.
Another three are scheduled into March. Representative Guy Vander Linden opened the forum by saying school funding will be a hot topic this week. The Iowa Senate has already passed a 4% increase for school funding through what's called "allowable growth". Funding goes to Iowa school districts per pupil and the mechanism for that funding is called allowable growth. Governor Terry Branstad has proposed an education reform plan, and republicans in the Iowa House say they prefer to hash out more details about the governor's plan before voting on allowable growth. Vander Linden says "there's a lot of spending in the governor's plan", so he prefers to see the entire picture on finances before taking up amounts on funding for schools. Oskaloosa School Superintendent Russ Reiter asked if it might be appropriate to use some of the surplus in the state budget for school funding. Vander Linden says he's mindful Iowa school districts need to get an answer from the Legislature about school funding because budgets have to be set in the next several weeks. Senator Ken Rozenboom also attended the forum. On the topic of school funding, he agrees it's important to look at the governor's education reform ideas before voting only on allowable growth. Other topics at the forum included whether the state will expand medicaid funding. Rozenboom and Vander Linden say they're not sure how that issue will develop or how state finances will affect that issue. There was also a question about whether Iowa lawmakers will take up gun control. Both lawmakers agreed limiting gun rights will not be a big issue in the Legislature this year. Listen to the entire Eggs and Issues session here.