Beall and Miller support education budget bill

An education budget bill that increases state aid to community colleges by $8 million was approved by lawmakers Wednesday night and was sent to Gov. Terry Branstad.

The Senate approved it on a 28-21 vote, according to state Sen. Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge.

The House of Representatives passed it on a 90-8 vote.

Beall voted in favor of the bill.

“Given the divided government that we have, I feel good,” he said. “I think it’s the best we can get.”

In the House, state Rep Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge, voted for the bill. She said it met previously outlined budget targets and increased funding for area education agencies.

According to Beall, key components of the bill include:

  • An $8 million increase for community colleges, for a total of $201 million.
  • A $24 million increase for regents universities, making a tuition freeze possible for the second year in a row.
  • $49 million for grants to implement the new teacher leadership program.
  • $8 million for early literacy teaching.
  • A $1 million increase for teacher quality programs conducted by area education agencies.

The bill allocates $5 million for Kibbie Grants, which provide financial aid to adults seeking career training at community colleges. The grants are named after former Senate President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg who helped to establish Iowa’s community college system in the 1960s.