The State Senator who represents all of Jasper County is defending Republican lawmakers sending the Governor a bill to increase general state spending on Iowa’s public schools by about 106-million dollars. That’s a 3-percent increase according to 19th District State Senator Ken Rozenboom.

The bill will also include 900-thousand more dollars in state support for geographically large school districts that spend far more on bus transportation. The 34 Republicans in the Senate approved the school funding this(Thursday) afternoon. House Speaker Pat Grassley says the House will approve the bill early next week, giving school boards eight weeks to finalize budgets for the next academic year.

Democrats say school districts need more to offer competitive teacher salaries and cover rising costs of fuel to heat buildings and run buses. Senator Herman Quirmbach of Ames says the state would have more to spend if Republicans hadn’t approved state-funded savings accounts for private school parents.

Due to declining enrollment and the distribution formula for general state spending on public schools, Senator Sarah Trone Garriott of West Des Moines says dozens of school districts will get less money for the next academic year.