Awaiting teacher aid

Thursday, April 12, 2001

SL superintendent disappointed in Iowa Legislature stalemate, fears youth may turn away from teaching.

Storm Lake school officials are growing disappointed as the legislative session drags on without a promised teacher pay package, or even a nonpartisan agreement on how to pursue it.

"The latest e-mail I received this morning said that it is not gone yet, it's not totally dead, but they are talking about some reduction in the $40 million that was to be used to improve base teacher pay and mentorship programs," Storm Lake Superintendent of Schools Bill Kruse said Wednesday.

"I'm disappointed. It was an opportunity not only for Iowa to try to catch up with other areas in teacher pay, but also to do what is necessary to keep our good teachers and attract the top education students to stay here," Kruse said.

The issue has seemingly lost focus in Des Moines. The governor has openly accused GOP leaders of breaking promises on the issue. State revenue projections have caused other worries and the potential for the education money to be drawn off to other areas of the budget, Kruse noted, and lawmakers haven't found any common agreement on how to pursue merit pay for teachers.

"I think they are probably finding that they haven't quite gotten through the obstacles that exist to a variable pay system. If you are going to pay teachers for performance by building, grade level or any other grouping based on the achievements of their students, you first have to agree to an objective way to measure improvement, and that isn't really as simple as a basic skills test score," the superintendent said.

Read the rest of this story in the 10/12 Pilot Tribune.

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