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Iowa Senate Committee Approves Education Reform Bill

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A Senate panel approved a beefed-up version of the governor's education reform plan that requires increased teacher pay and institutes leadership programs.

The Senate Education Committee approved the measure Thursday by a 9 to 6 vote, with all Democrats in support and Republicans opposed.

Bill sponsor Sen. Herman Quirmbach of Ames says the Senate's version would cost $190 million. That's more expensive than Republican Gov. Terry Branstad's plan.

The measure increases minimum teacher salaries to $35,000 and offers options to school districts for leadership programs.

The Senate plan includes a 4 percent funding increase to school districts in coming two fiscal years.

Republicans opposed the bill, saying it removes experienced teachers from the classroom to mentor other educators.

The House has approved a bill limiting raises and making reforms voluntary.

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