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Teachers Union President: Governor's Education Plan Robs Students

The head of the Iowa teachers' union says the governor's education proposals are not bold enough to address the needs of Iowa's schools. (morguefile/jmiltenburg)
The head of the Iowa teachers' union says the governor's education proposals are not bold enough to address the needs of Iowa's schools. (morguefile/jmiltenburg)
January 13, 2016

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Cedar Rapids teacher Tammy Wawro, president of the Iowa State Education Association, is criticizing Gov. Terry Branstad for not proposing in his Condition of the State Address new ideas to help K-12 education in the state.

"The governor said nothing new or bold about really funding Iowa schools to the level they need to be at," she said. "We have had five years in a row of underfunding Iowa schools."

Wawro called for an increase in basic school aid to restore budgets to where she said they need to be.

The governor's summertime veto of $56 million in one-time funding for education led many districts to cut budgets after the fiscal year had started.

"We are cutting programs. We're cutting our arts, music, P.E. We are making do with what we've had on underfunding budgets for quite a while," Wawro said. "In spite of that, our schools are doing well, but how long can we ask them to keep that up?"

Republicans who control the House have approved a 2 percent increase in funding for the next school year, but Democrats who control the state Senate want double that amount.

One of Branstad's proposals is to shift revenue from a state sales tax earmarked for education to help pay for water-quality issues. Wawro said that's robbing money from Iowa schools.

"Absolutely it's a concern," she said. "Water quality is something that we all need to be concerned about, but it should not be on the backs of our students and our schools."

The Iowa State Education Association represents more than 34,000 education professionals in Iowa.

Jeff Stein, Public News Service - IA