- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—CLINTON — With the clock ticking down, the effort to convene a special session to overturn Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s veto on $55 million in one-time education spending likely won’t happen, according to local legislators.

The deadline for the Legislature to request the special session is Wednesday; if the veto is not overturned, it will be an impact of almost half a million dollars for the Clinton School District.

Currently, Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton, and Sen. Rita Hart, D-Wheatland, have returned their requests to bring about a special session related to the veto. Rep. Norlin Mommsen, R-DeWitt, said he supports the session but has not turned in a request.

The special session would be related to $55 million in one-time education funding on top of the 1.25 percent increase in funding that legislators this session earmarked for Iowa schools. The extra funding was line-item vetoed by Branstad after the session ended, which left lawmakers with no opportunity to overturn the veto.

But Democrats are still working to get the special session called.

“As of (Sunday) all of the House and Senate Democrats have signed on,” Wolfe said.

While Wolfe said she wants the session, she said realistically it would be hard to get two-thirds from both the House and Senate to sign on to the petition for the session.

Mommsen said he still stands behind his vote for the funding.

“I’m in favor of the special session because we passed the additional funding,” he said. “It helped alleviate the concerns both parties had.”

But while personally in favor, Mommsen said House leadership has indicated there are not enough votes to convene the session.

Local school districts may feel the squeeze from the veto of the one-time funding.

According to Rep. Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown, the Camanche School District will lose $97,159 and Northeast Community Schools will lose $62,130.

Cindy McAleer, chief financial officer for the Clinton School District, said the money will impact the district’s spending ability at an amount of $427,535.

According to a recent editorial in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, the Iowa Association of School Boards has said 162 school districts will have to raise property taxes to make up for the money.

Deb Olson, Clinton School District superintendent, said, “Obviously, our budget was tight before, this only further complicates the operation of our organization since the budget was certified back in April.”

Beyond the fact that school districts may be hurt in the upcoming year, Wolfe said this hurts the Legislature overall because it could make any compromise in the upcoming session harder to come by knowing Branstad may veto the agreements between Republican and Democratic legislators.

“It was compromise; it was agreement,” she said. “And that’s what is frustrating.”

Digital Content Editor Nick Moffitt can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @nickmoff.


(c)2015 the Clinton Herald (Clinton, Iowa)

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