Senate Republicans OK education funding bill

Saving for education (ThinkStock)

Saving for education (ThinkStock)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Senate Republicans have approved an education funding bill that some school officials say will force increased class sizes and teacher layoffs.

The GOP-controlled chamber voted 28-21 Thursday, Feb. 2, for the legislation, which would take effect in July. It has support in the Republican-led House, where a vote is scheduled Monday.

The bill would add about $40 million to Iowa’s roughly $3 billion K-12 education budget. That means $73 would be added to what’s spent on each Iowa student, now just below $6,600.

Republicans say the amount is all the state can responsibly afford amid budget constraints. Gov. Terry Branstad has recommended more education spending.

Democrats say Republicans are not prioritizing students. Some educators say the proposal doesn’t account for increased operating costs at school districts, and would result in cuts.