Friday, January 21, 2011

ISEA HOTLINE 1/20/2011

House File 45--Formerly Known as House Study Bill 1
House File 45 (formerly Study Bill 1) passed the House 60-40 on a party line vote. President Chris Bern, NEA Director Mike Beranek, and Executive Board member Sue Williams spoke on behalf of ISEA at the public hearing. Their comments in favor of public preschool for all four-year-olds, maintaining the Iowa Core, and funding for AEAs were well received and many members attended. Legislators are telling us that they have received many e-mails from ISEA members. The fight is far from over as the bill makes its way to the Senate.
Community colleges
On his way out the door, Governor Culver cut community colleges funding by $5.9 million. That is a 3.7 percent cut to state aid this year. Governor Branstad has stated he is not willing to restore those funds. We'd like you to help change his mind. Please ask Governor Branstad to restore the funds to Iowa's community colleges so they can continue training and retraining Iowa's workforce. The community colleges are serving Iowa's highest enrollment this year with 106,000 students. The ISEA does not believe Governor Culver had the legal authority to make the cuts and will be exploring further action on this matter with our coalition partners.

Community College recognition
Iowa's community colleges will be honored with a resolution on January 27 in honor of 45 years of service to Iowa.

Report on Public Bargaining
Governor Branstad requested a report from Leon Shearer, his advisor on labor and management issues. The report on the status of collective bargaining in Iowa was released yesterday. Although he has made the report available to legislators, the Governor has not yet commented on it. There are three major areas of interest to ISEA members:

Healthcare - The report makes bargaining healthcare benefits illegal in Iowa.
Regional Bargaining - The report proposes regional bargaining which would set aside local contracts.
Bargaining Costs - The report would transfer all mediation costs to the local association.

Attend your legislative forums this weekend!
We know you're busy but please take some time this weekend to attend your legislative forums. After the forum, contact us and let us know what happened. To find forums in your area look at the ISEA Web site. At the forum ask the tough questions like:

Why are you cutting preschool and other educational programs to provide tax cuts to Iowa's wealthiest people? Research shows that funds invested in preschool provide a large return on investment. If the state is not paying for all children to go to preschool, access across the state will decline.

What do you think allowable growth will be? The ISEA believes allowable growth should be set at four percent to maintain quality programs.