Lawmakers and school leaders discuss education reform bill - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

It could happen soon, lawmakers and school leaders discuss education reform bill

Lawmakers meet with local school leaders in Sioux City to discuss education reform. Lawmakers meet with local school leaders in Sioux City to discuss education reform.

Sioux City schools have been running out of space and outdated buildings, while dealing with budget cuts, for years. 

A new education bill recently passed in the Iowa House could improve the situation. 

That's why Sioux City School Superintendent pleaded to legislators to pass the Education Reform Bill at the monthly education legislative meeting in Sioux City on Saturday.

Gausman says it could finally give the district the budget relief it's been seeking for the last several years. 

"Ultimately you'll see higher test scores as a result of that hard work," Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman said.

The bill would supplement $157 million to Iowa Schools.  Gausman says that could mean a reduction of four to 10 million dollars that's currently coming out of taxpayer's pockets.  And that potentially frees up money for the district to spend on school improvement projects.

"The way parents would realize some success there would be --that class sizes would decrease, our ability to keep our bus fleet moving forward would, they'll see those kinds of tangible things first off," Gausman said.
The bill would also introduce a career model for teachers.  One that includes lead teachers, and mentors for new hires.  It would also create a reward system for those that excel.

"I really believe that's going to make a significant difference in education in the state of Iowa," Gausman said.

Representative Ron Jorgensen, (R) Sioux City, shares the Superintendent's  enthusiasm.  

"Back in the 90s we used to lead the country in education, we've slipped over the years, now we're kind of in the middle of the pack, and so we need to have some reform initiatives to get Iowa to leading the country again," Representative Jorgensen said.

Representatives Dave Dawson, (D) Sioux City and Chris Hall, (D) Sioux City both don't support the legislation on the table.  Hall is concerned with how the money would be spent

"Huge increase for the Department of Education without really clearly defined parameters for what the Department of Education would be doing," Hall said.

They say, the bill still needs work.  They're calling for more state aid, and expect the bill to come back to the house before it goes to the Governor's desk.  But, Jorgensen who steers the House Education Committee is intent on getting it through.  

The bill which was passed 52-44 last week, is now headed to the Senate for consideration.

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