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GOP lawmakers split over size of education funding increase

DES MOINES (AP) — The Iowa House on Tuesday approved a K-12 education funding plan that would spend about $16 million more than a version approved by the state Senate.

The House voted to increase state spending by nearly $108 million, for a total of about $3.4 billion. Lawmakers approved the funding after first rejecting a proposal by Democrats to spend an additional $20 million.

That action following approval by the Senate on Monday of a nearly $92 million increase.

Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, had proposed increasing education spending by $101 million. Both legislative chambers are controlled by Republicans.

Senate Democrats had argued the state can afford bigger spending increases to keep schools from falling behind. But Republican Sen. Amy Sinclair, floor manager of the Senate bill, said the spending level shows educating children is a GOP priority.

The House bill will go to the Senate for consideration. If lawmakers fail to agree, the bill would go to a conference committee, where members from both chambers would decide on a figure.

Iowa has just over 320 kindergarten through 12th grade school districts and the funding lawmakers are considering would provide money for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

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