- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Republican-majority Iowa House granted committee-level approval to a small funding increase for schools Wednesday, but leaders in the Democratic-controlled Senate say they want to provide even more money.

The House education committee approved the increase in school funding for the upcoming academic year. The legislation is based on Gov. Terry Branstad’s budget proposal. It would provide an increase of about $35 million in general support for K-12 public schools.

In all, Branstad’s budget provides about $100 million in new schools funding, much of that earmarked for specific programs, such as a teacher training initiative.

Rep. Ron Jorgensen, R-Sioux City, said the funding proposal was what the state could afford.

“You have to live in the economic reality of where the money is going to come from,” said Jorgensen, who chairs the House education committee. He said he hoped to reach an agreement on school funding in the next month.

But Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, who chairs the Senate education committee, said the state should do more.

“It’s completely inadequate. It doesn’t even keep up with inflation,” said Quirmbach, who said Democrats were still working on a funding proposal.

House Democrats have requested a public hearing on the school funding legislation. That hearing will be held before the bill will move to the full House for review.

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