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Iowa keeps education top priority

March 23, 2010
By State Sen. Tom Rielly D-Oskaloosa
In these tough economic times, we’re keeping education a top priority because a strong education system is key to helping Iowans recover from the national recession.

The Iowa Senate took the first big step this week to maintain our commitment to Iowa’s K12 schools, community colleges and higher education for the next school year.

By approving Senate File 2376, we are staying focused on expanding educational opportunity for working and middle-class families.

Over the past four years, we’ve made significant investments to increase student achievement, move Iowa teacher salaries toward our goal of 25th in the nation, make higher education more affordable and expand access to quality early childhood programs.

Despite the lingering national recession, this year’s education budget—combined with other initiatives that we’ll approve in the final days of the 2010 session—will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in our local students, educators and colleges.

Highlights of this key education initiative include:

•A 6.7 percent increase for the National Guard and Vo-Tech Tuition Grants;

•Increased spending on the Nurse and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs;

•More than 12 million new dollars for the Voluntary Statewide Preschool program so it can be expanded to all interested school districts. Because of this initiative, more than 12,000 Iowa kids have received high-quality preschool in the last three years.

•An increase of $10 million for Iowa’s community colleges to help Iowans looking to improve their skills.

• A significant investment in Iowa’s public universities to keep higher education affordable.

Article Photos

State Sen. Tom Rielly



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