Lawmakers to debate Branstad's education reforms

Published On: Feb 19 2013 07:32:33 PM CST
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -

The Iowa House has started debating a Republican plan to water down Gov. Terry Branstad's education reform plan.

Discussion started Tuesday evening.

The governor's education plan aims to improve Iowa schools by boosting minimum teacher pay and offering bonuses to senior teachers who take on tasks such as mentoring. But Republicans in the House Education Committee scaled back the plan last week, including allowing school districts to opt-out of the reforms.

Branstad wanted to mandate that minimum teacher salaries go from $28,000 a year to $35,000. Under the House Republican proposal, the salary increases would be to $32,000 for participating districts.

Branstad's spokesman says the governor supports the direction the bill is moving in the House and is confident that districts would want to opt in.