What collaboration can accomplish

The pending increase in state aid to Iowa Central Community College is an example of a group effort, in the best way

Iowa Central Community College is on track to get a big increase in state aid in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

A bill awaiting action by Gov. Kim Reynolds includes a $6 million boost in state aid to be divided between the 15 community colleges in Iowa.

For Iowa Central, that means an additional $356,682, for a total of $11.8 million in state general aid for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Iowa Central will also get some of the additional $500,000 the Legislature included for community college programs that teach English to those who aren’t native English speakers.

The spending bill also includes an additional $1 million to help community colleges work with private high schools. Iowa Central will use some of that money to collaborate with St. Edmond High School in Fort Dodge and St. Mary High School in Storm Lake.

We urge Reynolds to sign this bill.

It wasn’t a sure thing that a measure including such a generous increase for community colleges would ever reach her desk.

At the beginning of the year, Reynolds proposed a $4.7 million increase for community colleges. The Senate concurred, including a $4.7 million increase in its initial proposed budget.

The House of Representatives had other ideas, however. It proposed a $7 million increase.

In the give and take that occurs every year as the Legislature races to adjournment, a compromise was reached that gave the community colleges a $6 million increase.

A number of legislators, especially in the House of Representatives, deserve credit for making sure that the community colleges received that increase.

House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, is one of them. She once served as a member of the Board of Directors for the North Iowa Area Community College. Mark Crimmins, the president of the Iowa Central Board of Directors, described her as “extremely supportive” of community colleges.

Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge, and Rep. Mike Sexton, R-Rockwell City, were stalwart supporters of the community colleges in the House. Meyer “pushed hard for community colleges,” Crimmins said.

Other House members who pressed for the increase were representatives Gary Worthan, R-Storm Lake; Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, who is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; Brian Best, R-Glidden; and David Kerr, R-Morning Sun.

When it came time to negotiate a compromise with the Senate, Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge, met with Kerr. They are the Education Appropriations Subcommittee chairmen in their chambers of the Legislature. They hammered out an agreement for a $6 million increase.

This funding increase resulted from a tremendous collaborative effort between representatives and senators.

Reaching a compromise like that which will benefit Iowans is what lawmaking is all about.

Everyone associated with Iowa Central, and the other 14 community colleges, should be grateful.

And we think area residents should congratulate lawmakers for their successful efforts on behalf of community colleges.

COMMENTS