A new bill in the Iowa Legislature could mean a potential big pay increase for Iowa teachers.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that beginning teacher salaries in the state could see a raise of $16,500 under a new bill proposed by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. The hope is that the pay raise will attract teachers to the state and help curb a nationwide teacher shortage that affects many districts here in Iowa.

The proposal filed last week would set the salaries for first year teachers in the state at $50,000. Teachers with 12 years or more of experience would see a salary of $62,000, acccording to the Gazette. The current minimum teacher pay in Iowa is $33,500 which was set more than a decade ago.

Iowa Public School and AEA Teacher and Teacher Leader Information
Iowa Public School and AEA Teacher and Teacher Leader Information

However, the Gazette reports that the increase in teacher pay is tied to a controversial change to Iowa's area education agencies. It would prohibit AEAs from offering services beyond special education, which could cause many districts to look elsewhere for services. On the chopping block under the governor's proposal would be media and technology, and educational services including math, science, and literacy, according to the Gazette.

Melissa Peterson with the Iowa State Education Association says that the two issues shouldn't be included in the same bill.

We’re encouraging legislators to split these issues. We would like to see the AEA conversation separated from the compensation question. Both are very important and very complicated.

The Gazette reports that the total cost of the new bill in its first year would be near $96 million.

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