Taylor helps pass education budget that will expand Iowa’s middle class

Written by Theresa Rose on April 30, 2015

(Des Moines) On Wednesday, April 29, Senator Rich Taylor of Mount Pleasant helped the Iowa Senate approve an education budget that will strengthen Iowa’s middle class. The legislation, Senate File 493, was approved by a vote of 26 to 24.

“I voted to freeze tuition for a record third straight year at Iowa’s public universities and to keep tuition affordable at community colleges like Southeastern Community College,” said Taylor. “Regardless of where they seek additional education, this budget will help Iowans afford schooling that will bring lifelong benefits to themselves and their families. By doing so, it will also reduce the shortage of skilled workers that is slowing the growth of the Iowa economy.”

Senate File 493 includes state investment in Iowa’s public universities, community colleges, and private college scholarships, as well as Area Education Agencies and other education services. (A majority of the funding for Iowa’s local K-12 schools is in a separate budget bill that will be considered in the near future.)

The legislation includes an increase of $16.6 million in state support for Iowa State, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa. The Board of Regents has said that is enough to continue the tuition freeze for Iowa students for a record third year.

To help keep tuition affordable at Iowa’s community colleges, the Senate approved an $8 million increase. The total package includes more than $40 million in workforce training so Iowans at every stage of life can upgrade their skills and fill open positions in their communities.

The legislation approved by the Senate also fully funds recent education reforms at local schools.

“We fully fund the Teacher Leadership initiative to improve teaching and also increase the intensive early literacy program to $9.5 million,” said Taylor. “Identifying kids struggling to learn to read and giving them extra help early in their school career is the right approach.”

The legislation now goes to the Iowa House for consideration.