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Paulsen: Teacher Raises Too Big

John Pemble/IPR
Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says teacher salary raises are too high.

A standoff between Democrats and Republicans over funding for K-12 schools next year continues at the statehouse.

 Negotiators on a joint house senate committee will be at work this week trying to resolve it. By some estimates the two parties are about $100 million apart.  

Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says the raises that teachers bargain for are costing too much money.

“I sat down with school superintendents two weeks ago and they laid out several proposals,” Paulsen says.  “Every single one of them includes an assumption of 3 to 4% pay raise every single year in perpetuity.”

Paulsen says that’s more than most Iowans receive.

“And the reason is the collective bargaining table right now is not quite balanced,” Paulsen says.      

Paulsen wants Iowa’s collective bargaining law to be changed so an arbitrator has more flexibility in contract disputes with teachers. Democrats are unlikely to go along. They say the law was enacted in exchange for teachers giving up the power to strike.

The  joint committee can only address the funding issue, not collective bargaining.