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IOWA PRESS #2824 - Reps. Betty Grundberg and Mary Mascher
February 11, 2001

David Yepsen: EDUCATION REMAINS A FRONT-BURNER ISSUE AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE. WE DISCUSS SCHOOL INITIATIVES IN THE IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WITH REPRESENTATIVE BETTY GRUNDBERG OF DES MOINES AND REPRESENTATIVE MARY MASCHER OF IOWA CITY ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.

Narrator: FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY... THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 IOWA BUSINESSES EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE. THIS IS THE SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11 EDITION OF IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DAVID YEPSEN.

Yepsen: WELL BEFORE THE 79TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY GOT UNDER WAY ON JANUARY 8, BOTH THE EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE BRANCHES OF STATE GOVERNMENT INDICATED THAT EDUCATION WOULD BE AT THE TOP OF THE PRIORITY LIST. AND AS THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2001 MOVES INTO ITS SECOND MONTH, THAT'S BEEN THE CASE. FIRST UP ON THE AGENDA WAS TEACHER PAY, AND SOME $40 MILLION IN NEW FUNDS WENT INTO THE PIPELINE TO BOLSTER TEACHER SALARIES, BUT THE MOVE WAS NOT WITHOUT SOME DISCORD. SOME SAY THE MONEY AMOUNTS TO ONLY A DOWN PAYMENT, AND MORE SUPPORT WILL BE NEEDED TO ASSURE THAT IOWA TEACHERS CAN COMPETE WITH OTHERS IN OTHER STATES. AND OTHERS SAY THE STATE LEGISLATURE CAN AFFORD TO DO NO MORE. AND THERE ARE OTHER EDUCATION ISSUES THAT MANY FEEL NEED TO BE ADDRESSED. INCLUDED ON THAT LIST IS INFRASTRUCTURE. SPECIFICALLY, WHAT MORE CAN OR SHOULD BE DONE TO FIX UP SCHOOL BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES THAT HAVE SHOWN THEIR AGE. THERE ARE ISSUES OF TEACHER RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION. UPWARD TO 40 PERCENT OF IOWA'S TEACHER FORCE WILL BE IN RETIREMENT WITHIN TEN YEAR'S TIME. WELL, THOSE ISSUES AND OTHERS ARE ON THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE TODAY FOR REPRESENTATIVE BETTY GRUNDBERG OF DES MOINES, A REPUBLICAN WHO CHAIRS THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE IN THE IOWA HOUSE, AND FOR REPRESENTATIVE MARY MASCHER OF IOWA CITY, THE RANKING DEMOCRAT ON THE EDUCATION BUDGET SUBCOMMITTEE. THANK YOU BOTH FOR BEING WITH US TODAY ON A WINTRY WEEKEND. WE APPRECIATE YOU BEING HERE.

Guests: THANK YOU.

Yepsen: AND ALSO WITH US AT THE IOWA PRESS TABLE ARE IOWA STATEHOUSE REPORTERS KATHIE OBRADOVICH OF THE LEE NEWSPAPERS AND MIKE GLOVER OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS ASKED THE LEGISLATURE FOR $40 MILLION FOR A DOWN PAYMENT ON THE TEACHER PAY INCREASE. WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THAT REQUEST?

Grundberg: THAT REQUEST HAS BEEN MADE AND ACCEPTED BY THE LEGISLATURE.

Glover: SO THE LEGISLATURE WILL APPROVE $40 MILLION IN FUNDING FOR THE FIRST PAYMENT FOR TEACHER PAY INCREASE?

Grundberg: WE'VE AGREED TO SET IT ASIDE.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER, ARE YOU CONFIDENT THAT $40 MILLION WILL BE THERE AT THE END OF THE DAY WHEN THIS LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS?

Mascher: WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT NOW. ONE OF OUR CONCERNS IS THAT WE ARE GOING TO BE FACING SOME BUDGET CRUNCHES, AND WE KNOW THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE MAKING SOME CUTS. IT'S ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHERE WE'D LIKE TO SEE THAT MONEY SAFEGUARDED AND MAKE SURE IT'S IN THE SAVINGS ACCOUNT AND NOT OUT THERE WHERE IT MAY BE IN JEOPARDY. WE'RE CONFIDENT THAT IT WILL BE AT THE END OF THE DAY, BUT WE'D LIKE TO SEE IT SOONER THAN LATER.

Obradovich: WELL, REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, IS THAT MONEY IN JEOPARDY? IS IT SOMETHING THAT THE LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO COME IN AND TAKE ACTION TO ACTUALLY SET THAT ASIDE, OR IS THE REPUBLICANS' WORD GOING TO BE ENOUGH?

Grundberg: I HAVE NOT HEARD ANY DISCUSSION ABOUT DIPPING INTO THOSE FUNDS AT ALL.

Obradovich: WHAT ARE THE TAXPAYERS GOING TO GET FOR THAT $40 MILLION? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO SPEND IT ON THIS YEAR?

Grundberg: WE'RE LOOKING AT WHAT WE NEED TO SPEND IT ON. BUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT THE ISSUE, WE'RE REALLY TALKING ABOUT AN ISSUE OF STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN IOWA, NOT NECESSARILY TEACHER PAY, TEACHER COMPENSATION. WE NEED TO BE LOOKING AT WHY ARE TEST SCORES GOING DOWN, WHAT'S HAPPENED IN IOWA, AND WHAT ARE THE CHANGES WE NEED TO REDO IN ORDER TO NOT HAVE THE TEST SCORES CONTINUE TO DECLINE. STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IS THE ISSUE.

Obradovich: REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE STATE SPEND THAT FIRST $40 MILLION.

Mascher: WELL, I THINK IT'S DEFINITELY GOING TO BE USED FOR MENTORING PROGRAMS AND INDUCTION PROGRAMS FOR NEW TEACHERS. WE KNOW THAT IN THE FIRST THREE YEARS, IOWA HAS A DISPROPORTIONATE NUMBER OF TEACHERS WHO LEAVE THE PROFESSION, AND I THINK IT'S BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT ALWAYS FEELING THE SUPPORT IN THE CLASSROOM. WE HAVE A LOT OF TOUGH KIDS OUT THERE IN THIS DAY AND AGE, AND IT'S VERY DIFFICULT IF YOU DON'T RECEIVE THE SUPPORT IN BEING ABLE TO MAINTAIN DISCIPLINE IN THE CLASSROOMS AND BEING ABLE TO MEET THE NEEDS OF A DIVERSE GROUP OF LEARNERS. SO I THINK THEY NEED THAT SUPPORT, AND I THINK WE'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT PUTTING THAT FIRST DOLLAR TOWARDS SUPPORTING AND HELPING THEM.

Obradovich: LET'S THINK FIVE YEARS DOWN THE ROAD. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE TAXPAYERS OF IOWA CAN EXPECT FIVE YEARS DOWN THE ROAD TO SEE AS AN IMPROVEMENT IN THE SCHOOLS? ARE WE GOING TO HAVE A THOUSAND NEW TEACHERS? ARE WE GOING TO HAVE A 5-PERCENT INCREASE IN TEST SCORES? WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE CONCRETE BENCHMARKS? HOW SHOULD IOWANS MEASURE WHETHER THIS PROGRAM IS GOING TO BE A SUCCESS.

Mascher: I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE QUALITY PEOPLE COMING INTO THE PROFESSION AND WE'LL BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN THEM IN THOSE JOBS. FOR TEACHERS WHO ARE CAREER TEACHERS WHO HAVE ALREADY BEEN IN THE CLASSROOMS, WE'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT STAFF DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS, INSERVICES, WORKSHOPS THAT ARE GOING TO BE MEANINGFUL AND FIT INTO THE SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLANS THAT SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE ALREADY ESTABLISHED.

Obradovich: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, HOW DO YOU MEASURE THAT?

Grundberg: I MEASURE IT IN THAT WE WILL HAVE AN AVAILABILITY OF TEACHERS TO SERVE OUR CHILDREN AND WE WILL HAVE THE BEST TEACHERS TO SERVE OUR CHILDREN AND OUR CHILDREN WILL LEARN.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, EVERYBODY AGREES THIS $40 MILLION THAT YOU'VE PROMISED FOR A FIRST STEP IN A TEACHER PAY INCREASE IS ONLY THE DOWN PAYMENT, THAT IT WILL BE A MULTIYEAR PROGRAM THAT WILL COST A LOT MORE THAN $40 MILLION. HOW MANY YEARS AND HOW MUCH MONEY?

Grundberg: WE'RE WORKING ON THAT RIGHT NOW. I WOULD IMAGINE IT WILL BE OVER A FOUR- OR FIVE-YEAR PLAN.

Glover: AND HOW MUCH MONEY?

Grundberg: THAT DOLLAR AMOUNT HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED. Glover: AREN'T YOU ASKING TAXPAYERS TO SIGN A BLANK CHECK? YOU'RE SAYING WE'RE GOING TO ASK YOU TO COME UP WITH "X" NUMBER OF MILLION DOLLARS, PROBABLY SEVERAL HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO TELL YOU HOW MUCH.

Grundberg: NO, WE'RE NOT.

Glover: WHY AREN'T YOU?

Grundberg: BECAUSE WE'RE SAYING WE DON'T KNOW THE DOLLAR AMOUNT YET AND WE'RE DEVISING THE PLAN IN ORDER TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE DOLLAR AMOUNT SHOULD AND WOULD BE.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER, WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU APPROVED A PROGRAM AND DIDN'T KNOW HOW MUCH IT COST?

Mascher: WELL, I DO THINK WE DO NEED TO KNOW HOW MUCH IT COSTS, AND I THINK THE NUMBER THAT WE HAVE BEEN HEARING IS $250- TO $300 MILLION. AND I THINK IN ORDER FOR US TO HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT, IT IS GOING TO TAKE THAT AMOUNT OF MONEY. I THINK WE ARE AWARE OF HOW MUCH THAT'S GOING TO COST, AND DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN VERY CLEAR ABOUT BEING WILLING TO SUPPORT THAT BECAUSE WE CARE THAT MUCH ABOUT OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM AND THE KIDS OF IOWA.

Obradovich: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, AS WE'VE GONE INTO SESSION, WE'RE A FEW WEEKS INTO IT NOW, THE REVENUE ESTIMATES FOR THE STATE ARE TAKING A DIVE. THERE'S TALK OF MAYBE A DEFICIT OF OVER $100 MILLION, TALK OF WHETHER THE STATE CAN AFFORD TO CONTINUE TO DO SOME OF THE THINGS IT'S DOING ALREADY. CAN THE STATE REALLY AFFORD TO PUT THIS KIND OF MONEY INTO EDUCATION RIGHT NOW?

Grundberg: THE STATE CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO. WE'RE LOOKING AT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. WE'RE LOOKING AT THE FACT THAT SOME PEOPLE AREN'T ABLE TO HIRE TEACHERS IN VARIOUS AREAS WHERE THEY NEED TEACHERS. RURAL IOWA IS HAVING A VERY DIFFICULT TIME. THEY MAY HAVE A VACANCY AND HAVE NO APPLICANTS. EVEN IN THE CITY OF DES MOINES AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT HERE, WE HAVE VERY FEW APPLICANTS IN CERTAIN AREAS, ESPECIALLY AT THE SENIOR HIGH LEVEL.

Obradovich: WELL, REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER, IF I'M A PERSON LIVING OUT IN RURAL IOWA AND WORRIED ABOUT GETTING LAID OFF AND WORRIED ABOUT MY FAMILY BUDGET, HOW CAN YOU TELL ME THAT I SHOULD BE SPENDING MORE OF MY TAX MONEY FOR MISS JOHNSON, THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER, WHO MAYBE IS DRIVING A BETTER CAR THAN ME ALREADY?

Mascher: IOWANS CARE A GREAT DEAL ABOUT EDUCATION. IT'S BEEN ONE OF OUR HALLMARKS IN THIS STATE. OTHER STATES LOOK TO US FOR LEADERSHIP, AND THIS IS AN EXAMPLE, WITH OUR TEACHER COMPENSATION PLAN, WHERE THEY ARE DOING THAT. I THINK THOSE IOWANS IN RURAL IOWA CARE ABOUT THEIR SCHOOLS JUST AS MUCH AS SOMEONE DOES IN URBAN AREAS. I THINK WE NEED TO BE LOOKING AT TAX CUTS AND WHETHER WE'RE GOING TO BE PUTTING ANY OTHERS OUT THERE ON THE TABLE. I DON'T THINK WE CAN AND CONTINUE TO AFFORD THIS KIND OF A PLAN. SO I'M HOPING THAT WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE LOOKING AT OTHER TAX CUTS THAT COULD JEOPARDIZE THE DOLLARS FOR THIS PROGRAM.

Glover: AND THAT WOULD BE ANOTHER SHOW TO TALK ABOUT THAT.

Mascher: ALL RIGHT.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, LET'S FLIP THIS WHOLE THING ON ITS EAR. WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THIS HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY WE'RE GOING TO PUT INTO TEACHER PAY. THE STATE SPENDS NEARLY $3 BILLION A YEAR ON EDUCATION. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT $40 MILLION. ISN'T THAT REALLY JUST A DROP IN THE BUCKET?

Grundberg: IT'S NOT MUCH WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE TOTAL BUDGET. YOU'RE RIGHT. BUT IT'S A START. AND WE DO NEED TO START WITH CERTAIN THINGS. WE NEED TO START WITH THE MENTORING PROGRAM. 17 PERCENT OF THE IOWA TEACHERS LEAVE IN THE FIRST YEAR. BY YEAR FOUR, I THINK 28 PERCENT OF THEM LEAVE THE TEACHING PROFESSION. WE NEED TO KEEP THOSE TEACHERS. THEY'VE BEEN TRAINED. WE'VE SPENT A LOT OF MONEY TRAINING THOSE TEACHERS AND PARENTS HAVE SPENT A LOT OF MONEY. WE NEED TO KEEP THEM IN THE PROFESSION.

Glover: LET'S GET BACK TO KATHIE'S QUESTION HERE FOR A SECOND. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE RESULTS THAT YOU'RE GOING TO GET FROM BRINGING THIS MONEY IN. CAN YOU GUARANTEE THE PARENTS OF IOWA THAT IF THEY APPROVE THIS TEACHER PAY INCREASE, THE PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM WILL IMPROVE IN A MEASURABLE WAY?

Grundberg: THAT'S WHY WE'RE TAKING SO LONG TO DEVELOP THE PLAN, WHY WE DON'T HAVE A TOTAL DOLLAR AMOUNT OUT THERE. WE WANT A PLAN THAT WILL DO THAT. WE WANT TO INCREASE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT.

Glover: SO YOU'LL GUARANTEE THAT BY THE TIME YOU GET THE PLAN PUT TOGETHER?

Grundberg: YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BY THE TIME YOU HAVE THE PLAN PUT TOGETHER, BUT YOU CAN GUARANTEE THAT THAT'S YOUR GOAL.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER, SAME QUESTION: $3-BILLION EDUCATION BUDGET IN THIS STATE OUT OF A $5-BILLION TOTAL STATE BUDGET. ISN'T THIS REALLY JUST A DROP IN THE BUCKET?

Mascher: WELL, THERE'S A COUPLE OF THINGS. ONE, I THINK THERE ARE MANY STATES OUT THERE WHO ARE VERY JEALOUS OF THE ABILITY OF OUR STUDENTS. I DO THINK THAT ONE OF THE CONTRIBUTING FACTORS HAS BEEN POVERTY LEVELS. WE KNOW THE POVERTY LEVELS IN IOWA HAVE INCREASED. AS A RESULT, I THINK THAT HAS MADE AN IMPACT ON OUR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT SCORES AND WHAT IS HAPPENING OUT THERE. WE'RE LOOKING AT MULTIPLE ASSESSMENTS, NOT ONE PARTICULAR TEST IN TERMS OF HOW WE ARE LOOKING AT ASSESSING OUR KIDS. TEACHERS ARE NOT AFRAID OF TESTING STUDENTS AND ASSESSING THEM. WE DO THAT ON A REGULAR BASIS. AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE THAT WE NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC AND TAXPAYERS. THEY'RE PAYING THAT DOLLAR.

Glover: RIGHT. SAME QUESTION THAT I ASKED REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG. CAN YOU GUARANTEE PARENTS IN THIS STATE, AT THE END OF THE DAY WHEN YOU GET A PROGRAM IN PLACE, THAT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, STUDENT PERFORMANCE IN THE CLASSROOM WILL IMPROVE IN A MEASURABLE WAY, A WAY THAT YOU CAN POINT TO AND SAY, "THAT'S WHAT I GOT FOR MY DOLLAR."

Mascher: THAT'S WHAT WE'RE ATTEMPTING TO DO, AND I THINK THE PEOPLE OF IIOWA DESERVE THAT AND THINK THOSE GUARANTEES HAVE GOT TO BE THERE IN ORDER FOR US TO GET THIS THROUGH.

Obradovich: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, WE'VE BEEN HEARING FROM THE FIRST DAY OF SESSION HOW DIFFICULT IT'S GOING TO BE TO CRAFT A TEACHER COMPENSATION AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT PLAN, BUT THE GOVERNOR ASKED FOR $40 MILLION UP FRONT. REPUBLICANS SAID, "OKAY. THE GOVERNOR ASKED FOR A 4-PERCENT INCREASE IN BASIC STATE AID FOR K-12 SCHOOLS, AND REPUBLICANS SAID, "OKAY, IT'S ON HIS DESK." SO WHAT REALLY IS THERE TO FIGHT ABOUT? WHAT'S THE CONTROVERSY HERE?

Grundberg: I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANYTHING TO FIGHT ABOUT. IOWANS WANT BETTER EDUCATION. THEY WANT BETTER QUALIFIED TEACHERS. THEY WANT THEIR STUDENTS TO ACHIEVE AND THEY WANT THEIR STUDENTS TO BE ABLE TO HAVE GOOD JOBS WHEN THEY GET OUT OF SCHOOL. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE WORKING TOWARD. AS FAR AS DEVELOPING THIS PLAN, IT IS A VERY COMPLICATED PLAN, BECAUSE WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO DO IS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE RETAIN LOCAL CONTROL. AT THE SAME TIME, IF YOU'RE GOING TO PUT OUT A LARGE AMOUNT OF NEW MONEY OR REALLOCATED MONEY, WE HAVE TO HAVE SOME KIND OF AN OVERARCHING PLAN STATEWIDE. WE CAN'T JUST AUTOMATICALLY SAY "HERE'S A BUNCH OF MONEY." NO, WE WANT END RESULTS, WHICH YOU JUST MENTIONED. WE WANT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT TO IMPROVE.

Obradovich: REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER, IS IT ALL SMOOTH SAILING FROM HERE, OR DO YOU SEE ANY BUMPS IN THE ROAD BEFORE YOU GET TO THE END OF THE SESSION?

Mascher: THIS IS SOMETHING WE ALL CAMPAIGNED ON. EVERYONE, I THINK, IS ON THE SAME PAGE IN THE SAME SONG BOOK WITH THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE. ABSOLUTELY, THERE ARE DETAILS TO BE WORKED OUT. SOMETIMES THOSE CAN BE STUMBLING BLOCKS, BUT I THINK EVERYBODY HAS BEEN VERY MUCH WILLING TO WORK TOGETHER TO TRY TO ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING AND SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO BE VERY POSITIVE FOR THE KIDS OF IOWA. THE STUMBLING BLOCK MAY BE IF WE WAIT TOO LONG TO GET THAT $40 MILLION SET ASIDE, AND THAT'S A CRITICAL PART OF ANY KIND OF PROPOSAL. THE MONEY ISN'T THERE, AND I'M FEARFUL THAT THE LONGER WE WAIT, THE MORE THAT MONEY IS IN JEOPARDY.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, DO YOU HAVE SOME ASSURANCES FOR REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER?

Grundberg: NO, I DO NOT. WE'VE AGREED TO DO IT. I CAN'T IMAGINE WHY ANYONE WOULD WANT ANYTHING ELSE.

Glover: LET ME ASSUME FOR A MOMENT THAT I'M A TEACHER AND I'M LOOKING FORWARD DOWN THE ROAD THAT I'M GOING TO GET A LITTLE BIT OF EXTRA MONEY. CAN I ASSUME THAT I'M GOING TO GET A NEW WAY OF BEING PAID, THAT THE SENIORITY-BASED SYSTEM OF PAYING TEACHERS IS GOING TO GO BY THE WAYSIDE? IS THAT GOING TO BE A PART OF THIS?

Grundberg: IT IS.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER, ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THAT, AND ARE THE TEACHERS UNION, WHICH IS THE CORE CONSTITUENCY OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, ARE THEY COMFORTABLE WITH THAT?

Mascher: WHAT THEY'RE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH IS MERIT PAY, AND NOWHERE IN NO SHAPE OR FORM HAVE WE BEEN TALKING ABOUT A MERIT PAY SYSTEM.

Glover: WELL, HOW DOES IT DIFFER?

Mascher: WELL, YOU AREN'T PITTING TEACHER AGAINST TEACHER. WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT IS A PROPOSAL WHERE ALL SHIPS WOULD RISE. IF OUR PARTICULAR BUILDING WOULD SET ASIDE AND SAY THIS IS WHAT WE EXPECT FOR OUR STUDENTS IN TERMS OF READING OR MATH SCORES, IF THOSE BUILDINGS ACHIEVE THAT, THEN THEY ARE ALL GOING TO BE REWARDED FOR THAT PARTICULAR RISE IN TEST SCORES. WE'RE EXPECTING KIDS IN EACH BUILDING TO BE ASSESSED AT A DIFFERENT LEVEL. NOT ALL KIDS ARE CREATED EQUAL. NOT ALL CLASSROOMS ARE CREATED EQUAL. NOT ALL BUILDINGS OR DISTRICTS ARE CREATED EQUAL. SO OUR SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLAN SHOULD INDICATE WHERE THOSE KIDS SHOULD BE, AND WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THEY HAVE BEEN ACHIEVING THAT LEVEL. SO I THINK YOU'RE LOOKING AT A PLAN WHERE YOU'RE NOT PITTING TEACHER AGAINST TEACHER AND SAYING SOME WILL GET IT, SOME WON'T. IT MAY BE SOME BUILDINGS WILL GET IT SOME YEARS; SOME BUILDINGS WON'T, DEPENDING UPON THE TEST SCORES THAT ARE ACHIEVED.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, IS THAT THE PAGE YOU'RE ON? IS THAT THE VOTE THAT YOU SEE RISING?

Grundberg: I THINK IT IS.

Glover: SO THERE'S GENERAL AGREEMENT THAT THAT'S A CONCEPT YOU WANT TO FOLLOW AND YOU'RE WORKING OUT THE DETAILS?

Grundberg: YES, BUT THERE'S ALSO THE CONCEPT THAT WE WANT TEACHERS TO HAVE THEIR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT RELATE TO WHAT THEY'RE TEACHING IN THE CLASSROOM, SO WE NEED TO CHANGE HOW WE DO PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. AND WE'RE LOOKING AT, PERHAPS, ADDING ADDITIONAL TIME FOR TEACHERS TO HAVE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. THAT'S A MAJOR ISSUE FOR TEACHERS, NOT ONLY FOR ADMINISTRATION WHO CAN'T GET SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS BUT FOR TEACHERS THEMSELVES. THEY NEED EXTRA TIME FOR THAT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, AND IT NEEDS TO BE RELATED DIRECTLY TO WHAT WILL IMPROVE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT.

Glover: TEACHER TESTING?

Grundberg: WHAT KIND OF TEACHER TESTING ARE YOU ASKING ABOUT?

Glover: ANY KIND.

Grundberg: WELL, WE'VE LOOKED AT TEACHER TESTING. I'M NOT SURE EXACTLY HOW THAT'S ALL GOING TO FIT IN. RIGHT NOW WE TEST PEOPLE BEFORE THEY GO INTO TEACHER PROGRAMS AT THE UNIVERSITIES. WE DID JUST A QUICK OVERVIEW OF HOW OUR TEACHERS DO WHEN THEY COMPLETE THE UNIVERSITY PROGRAMS AND/OR COLLEGE PROGRAMS. OUR IOWA GRADUATES ARE DOING FABULOUS.

Glover: SO YOU DON'T REALLY SEE THE NEED FOR THAT?

Grundberg: I'M NOT SAYING I DON'T SEE THE NEED FOR IT. I THINK IT'S AN ISSUE THAT'S STILL UNDER DISCUSSION, BECAUSE WE DID HAVE A COUPLE AREAS WHERE STUDENTS DIDN'T DO THAT WELL.

Obradovich: REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER, WHEN I GET A RAISE AT WORK, MY BOSS EXPECTS ME TO DO MORE. WHAT MORE ARE WE GOING TO EXPECT TEACHERS TO DO IN ORDER TO EARN THE RAISES THAT THEY EXPECT TO BE GETTING DOWN THE LINE.

Mascher: THERE'S AN ASSUMPTION THAT TEACHERS AREN'T DOING AS MUCH AS THEY SHOULD BE, AND I THINK THAT NEEDS TO BE DISPELLED. TEACHERS ARE WORKING EXTREMELY HARD, PUT IN LONG HOURS, WORK MANY WEEKENDS WITH THEIR STUDENTS IN DEBATE TOURNAMENTS AND OTHER KINDS OF ACTIVITIES. I THINK WE NEED TO BE LOOKING AT REWARDING THEM FOR THAT. IT IS NOT A MATTER OF PEOPLE NOT DOING THEIR JOB OR NOT PUTTING FORTH THAT EFFORT. THEY'RE WORKING EXTREMELY HARD RIGHT NOW. I THINK THERE'S A CONCERN OUT THERE AMONG TEACHERS THAT: WHAT MORE HOOPS ARE YOU EXPECTING US TO DO; WE'RE ALREADY PUTTING IN LONG HOURS; WE'RE ALREADY DOING A LOT FOR OUR STUDENTS; WE DON'T HAVE MUCH MORE TO OFFER IN TERMS OF BEING ABLE TO FIND ADDITIONAL TIME.

Obradovich: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, DO YOU THINK THAT'S RIGHT? DO YOU THINK THAT YOU CAN SELL IOWA ON A BIG RAISE FOR TEACHERS IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO TELL THEM WHAT MORE THEY'RE GOING TO BE DOING FOR THEIR KIDS?

Grundberg: REMEMBER, I INDICATED WE WOULD HAVE SOME ADDITIONAL DAYS FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. THAT'S PART OF THE PLAN. WE ALSO -- I ALSO HAVE A REALITY CHECK. I HAVE A DAUGHTER WHO TEACHES IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM. SHE TELLS ME ALL THE TIME, "DON'T MAKE ME JUMP THROUGH MORE HOOPS." SO THAT IS NOT WHAT WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO DO. WE'RE ATTEMPTING TO MAKE SURE THAT THE TEACHERS WHEN THEY'RE TEACHING THE CLASSROOM THEY'RE TEACHING FOR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. SO IT MEANS A DIFFERENT WAY OF PAYING THE TEACHERS, AND IT ALSO MEANS LOOKING AT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN A DIFFERENT MANNER. AS WE GO DOWN THIS ROAD, IT'S NOT JUST NEW DOLLARS. IT'S ALSO GOING TO BE SOME REALLOCATION OF DOLLARS THAT EXIST AND USING THEM IN A BETTER WAY.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER, A FEW YEARS AGO, THERE WAS A LOT OF TALK ABOUT EXTENDING THE SCHOOL YEAR, IF NOT MAKING THE SCHOOL YEAR-ROUND, MAKING THE SCHOOL YEAR A LONGER TIME. IS THAT GOING TO BE A PART OF THIS MIX, OR HAS THAT GONE BY THE WAYSIDE?

Mascher: I THINK THAT IS DEFINITELY GOING TO BE A PART OF IT. I DON'T KNOW THAT WE'RE TALKING NECESSARILY ABOUT STUDENT DAYS AS MUCH AS WE ARE TALKING ABOUT TEACHER DAYS AND PROVIDING QUALITY STAFF DEVELOPMENT DURING THAT TIME PERIOD. THERE HAVE BEEN MANY DISTRICTS THAT HAVE ATTEMPTED YEAR-ROUND SCHOOLS, SOME VERY SUCCESSFUL EXAMPLES OF THAT. I THINK MORE DISTRICTS MAY BE LOOKING TO THAT AS AN ALTERNATIVE FOR HELPING CHILDREN CONTINUE THE GROWTH THAT THEY'VE MADE DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR. WE KNOW THAT KIDS THAT ARE IN POVERTY SITUATIONS OFTENTIMES SLIDE DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS. THEY ARE NOT GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITIES TO CONTINUE THE READING AND TO CONTINUE THAT SUPPORT. SO I THINK THAT'S WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT. WE'RE HOPING TO, AGAIN, PROVIDE INCENTIVES FOR DISTRICTS WHO ARE LOOKING AT LONGER SCHOOL YEARS AND DOING MAYBE THE YEAR-ROUND SCHOOL, TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT AS WELL.

 

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT ADDING ADDITIONAL STAFF DEVELOPMENT DAYS. HOW MUCH TIME ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT HERE? ANOTHER WEEK? A COUPLE WEEKS? ANOTHER MONTH?

Grundberg: NO, I DON'T THINK WE'RE LOOKING AT ANOTHER MONTH, BUT WE'RE LOOKING AT DAYS. AND I'M NOT SURE EXACTLY HOW MANY DAYS WE'RE LOOKING AT. YOU ASKED ABOUT THE $40 MILLION. IF YOU ADD SOME ADDITIONAL DAYS TO THE TEACHER CALENDAR, YOU ARE LOOKING AT USING SOME OF THAT MONEY FOR THAT. WE'RE LOOKING AT USING SOME OF THE MONEY FOR THE MENTORING PROGRAM. THERE'S ANOTHER COMPONENT THAT WE NEED TO SPEND SOME MONEY ON; AND THAT IS, MANY OF OUR ADMINISTRATORS OR PEOPLE WHO DO THE EVALUATIONS IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEMS HAVE NOT RECEIVED THE KIND OF TRAINING THEY NEED IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO EVALUATE TEACHERS AS TO WHETHER OR NOT WHAT THEY TEACH IS DIRECTLY BRINGING ABOUT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. WE NEED TO IMPROVE OUR EVALUATION SYSTEM IN THIS STATE.

Obradovich: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER SAID A FEW MINUTES AGO THAT SOME DISTRICTS ARE CREATED MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS. AND I THINK THAT'S BEEN AN ISSUE THAT'S BEEN RAISED IN THE STATE ABOUT SOME DISTRICTS HAVING A BETTER TAX BASE, SOME DISTRICTS HAVING THE ABILITY TO SPEND A LOT MORE PER STUDENT THAT OTHER DISTRICTS. WHAT IS THE STATE LEGISLATURE GOING TO DO AS YOU LOOK AT TRYING TO MAKE THINGS MORE FAIR ACROSS THE STATE?

Grundberg: FOR THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS, WE'VE MADE SOME CHANGES TO MAKE THINGS FAIRER IN THIS STATE. FOR INSTANCE, WE HAD DISTRICTS THAT DIDN'T HAVE GIFTED AND TALENTED PROGRAMS BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T HAVE A PROPERTY TAX BASE IN ORDER TO LEVY THAT MONEY. WE PUT THAT ALL ON STATE DOLLARS. WE'VE INCREASED THE STATE PORTION OF THE MONEY THAT GOES TO SCHOOLS SO THAT PROPERTY-POOR DISTRICTS WOULD HAVE THE SAME ADVANTAGES AS PROPERTY-RICH DISTRICTS. WE STILL NEED TO DO MORE. RIGHT NOW WE HAVE SOME DISTRICTS WHERE STUDENTS HAVE ABOUT $7,800 BEHIND THEM AND OTHER DISTRICTS WHERE THAT STUDENT ONLY HAS ABOUT $5,300 ALLOWED TO BE SPENT ON THAT CHILD. WE NEED TO CHANGE THAT MIX A LITTLE BIT, BUT IT'S VERY DIFFICULT.

Obradovich: REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER, YOU COME FROM AN URBAN SCHOOL DISTRICT. WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE STATE SENDING TAX DOLLARS FROM YOUR CITIZENS OUT TO SHORE UP RURAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS WHERE THERE'S NOT AS MANY KIDS?

Mascher: WE HAD APPROPRIATED MONEY LAST YEAR FOR PILOT PROGRAMS FOR SCHOOLS TO DO REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOLS AND ACADEMIES IN THE RURAL AREAS. IN IOWA CITY, WE CAN OFFER A.P., WHICH ARE ADVANCED PLACEMENT CLASSES AND HONORS CLASSES, FOR OUR GIFTED AND TALENTED STUDENTS AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL. THEY'RE NOT ABLE TO DO THAT IN THE RURAL SCHOOLS BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE THE STUDENT BASE TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT. THEY DON'T OFTENTIMES HAVE THE TEACHERS THAT ARE TRAINED IN THOSE PARTICULAR CLASSES, AND I THINK WE NEED TO BE PROVIDING MORE. THE KIDS IN RURAL IOWA ARE NOT LESS CAPABLE. IT'S A MATTER OF THEY NEED THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT KIDS IN LARGER URBAN AREAS HAVE SO THEY'RE PREPARED FOR COLLEGE JUST AS OUR STUDENTS ARE IN THOSE URBAN AREAS.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, KATHIE IS MORE POLITE THAN I AM. LET'S PUT IT BLUNTLY WHAT I HEAR AT THE STATEHOUSE. A LOT OF URBAN LEGISLATORS SAY THIS WHOLE THING IS ABOUT TAKING URBAN DOLLARS TO PROP UP RURAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT OUGHT TO BE MERGING. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT?

Grundberg: WE DO HAVE SOME OF OUR RURAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS MERGING. I THINK WE HAVE FOUR DISTRICTS THAT ARE MERGING THIS YEAR. WE DO HAVE MANY DISTRICTS OUT THERE, WHICH IS REALLY A SURPRISE TO THOSE OF US WHO DON'T STUDY THE ISSUE, WHERE ALL THE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ARE GOING TO ANOTHER SCHOOL DISTRICT ALREADY. WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS TO ENCOURAGE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR CENTERS, FOR CHILDREN TO BE ABLE TO TAKE CLASSES AT THOSE CENTERS. WE DID IT FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES. NOW WE NEED TO DO IT -- THEY CAN GO TO COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND TAKE THOSE CLASSES, BUT SOME OF THOSE CLASSES AREN'T THE A.P. CLASSES THAT WE NEED TO OFFER AND ALLOW CHILDREN TO ADVANCE.

Glover: SO MORE OF THESE RURAL SCHOOLS NEED TO MERGE?

Grundberg: MORE OF THE HIGH SCHOOLS NEED TO GET TOGETHER AND OFFER A PROGRAM VERY COMPARABLE TO SOMETHING THAT'S AT CENTRAL CAMPUS.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER?

Mascher: THE GOVERNOR HAS TALKED ABOUT ALSO SHARING EXPENSES, WHETHER IT'S FOR PURCHASING ITEMS OR WHETHER IT'S FOR DUPLICATION OF BUSINESS MANAGERS OR SUPERINTENDENTS OR ADMINISTRATIVE POSITIONS, AND DOING MORE TO BE MORE EFFICIENT. AND I THINK WE AS A STATE NEED TO BE RESPONSIBLE ABOUT HOW WE'RE USING THOSE TAX DOLLARS. IF IT MEANS HAVING SCHOOL DISTRICTS COME TOGETHER AND PLAN FOR HOW THEY'RE GOING TO SET UP THOSE REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOLS, HOW THEY'RE GOING TO PLAN SO THEY CAN SHARE MORE OF THOSE ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS, THAT'S GOING TO BE A SAVINGS DOWN THE ROAD. I THINK THOSE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS WE SHOULD BE LOOKING AT.

Obradovich: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, LAST YEAR THE LEGISLATURE BROKE THROUGH A MAJOR WALL AND DECIDED TO PUT SOME MONEY INTO ACTUAL SCHOOL BUILDINGS, SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN KIND OF VERBOTEN FOR A LONG TIME IN STATE GOVERNMENT. IT WAS $5 MILLION A YEAR FOR FIVE YEARS, WHICH IS GOING TO BE FAIRLY SMALL --

Grundberg: TEN FOR FIVE YEARS.

Obradovich: I'M SORRY, $10 MILLION. IS THIS THE START OF SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO BE ONGOING? DO YOU SEE THE STATE PUTTING MORE MONEY INTO SCHOOL BUILDINGS, OR DO YOU SEE THIS AS MAYBE A TRIAL THING THAT ISN'T GOING TO LAST? Grundberg: I'M NOT SURE EXACTLY HOW IT'S GOING TO GO. IT PROBABLY DEPENDS UPON HOW SOME OTHER THINGS GO IN THE STATE. AS YOU LOOK AT THESE REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOLS, PERHAPS THERE WILL BE SOME NEED FOR SOME CONSTRUCTION IN THAT AREA. UNTIL YOU IMPROVE OR UNTIL YOU HAVE IT RELATE TO INCREASE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, I'M NOT SO SURE THERE'S GOING TO BE MONEY GOING OUT UNLESS THAT TIE EXISTS.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER, ONE WAY THAT MONEY IS GOING OUT IN LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS, JUST LIKE IT'S GOING OUT IN LOCAL HOUSEHOLDS AROUND THE STATE, IS FOR UTILITY BILLS THAT ARE DOUBLE OR TRIPLE WHAT THEY WERE LAST YEAR. IS THE STATE GOING TO STEP IN AND TRY TO HELP LOCAL SCHOOLS WITH THAT UNEXPECTED EXPENSE?

Mascher: WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THAT, AND I THINK THE 4-PERCENT ALLOWABLE GROWTH IS ONE INDICATOR THAT WE ARE WILLING TO CONTINUE THAT COMMITMENT TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS. WE WERE CONCERNED WHEN WE HEARD THAT THERE WERE MAYBE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT LESS THAN A 4-PERCENT ALLOWABLE GROWTH THAT, THAT WOULD REALLY CRIPPLE OUR DISTRICTS IN BEING ABLE TO MEET THOSE HEATING BILLS. I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE COGNIZANT OF THAT, AND AS A RESULT, WE WERE ABLE TO GET THAT 4-PERCENT ALLOWABLE GROWTH.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG. ARE WE?

Grundberg: I THINK THAT THERE'S ONE THING WE COULD LOOK AT, AND THAT IS ALLOWING DISTRICTS TO LEVY FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCIES AND THEN ALLOWING THAT TO BE PAID BACK OVER A PERIOD OF TIME. I'M REQUESTING A BILL THAT WILL DO THAT. I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH THAT HELPS IN THE SHORT RUN, BUT IT CERTAINLY COULD BE AN ADVANTAGE IN THE LONG RUN.

 

Yepsen: WE'VE GOT JUST A MINUTE LEFT, AND IT'S NEVER AN OFFICIAL IOWA PRESS SHOW UNLESS WE TALK SOME POLITICS WITH POLITICIANS. REPRESENTATIVE GRUNDBERG, WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE POLITICAL PLANS? ARE YOU GOING TO RUN FOR ANYTHING? EVERYBODY IS DES MOINES SEEMS TO BE RUNNING FOR CONGRESS.

Grundberg: YESTERDAY, MY GRANDDAUGHTER WAS THERE AT THE CAPITOL. SHE WAS RUNNING AROUND THE PLACE, AND SOMEONE SAID TO HER -- SAID TO ME AND TO HER, "ARE YOU GOING TO BE WANTING TO TAKE YOUR GRANDMOTHER'S SEAT IN THE FUTURE?" AND I SAID, "WELL, NOTICE WHERE SHE IS. AND SHE WAS SITTING UP IN THE SPEAKER'S CHAIR. [LAUGHTER]

Yepsen: REPRESENTATIVE MASCHER, WHAT ABOUT YOU? HIGHER OFFICE HERE?

Mascher: WHAT I HOPE IS THAT IN MY LIFETIME, WE WILL SEE A WOMAN GOVERNOR IN THIS STATE, THAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO SEE A WOMAN IN CONGRESS. I THINK WE'RE ONE OF FOUR STATES IN THE NATION THAT HAS NEVER HAD A WOMAN SERVE IN ANY OF THOSE OFFICES, AND I THINK THAT IS SOMETHING THAT I THINK IS A GOAL FOR ALL OF US. AM I RUNNING? NOT AT THIS TIME.

Yepsen: HOW ABOUT THAT CONGRESSIONAL SEAT OVER THERE?

Mascher: THE REDISTRICTING OVER THERE IS GOING TO BE FUN, AND I THINK WE HAVE SOME WOMEN THAT ARE READY TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE.

Yepsen: WE'RE OUT OF TIME. THANK YOU BOTH FOR BEING WITH US TODAY. APPRECIATE THAT. NOW, WE CLOSE THIS WEEK'S IOWA PRESS WITH A PROGRAM REMINDER. AT 8 O'CLOCK THIS EVENING, EDUCATION ISSUES ARE FRONT AND CENTER AGAIN HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. GEORGE DRAKE, FORMER PRESIDENT OF GRINNELL COLLEGE, WILL HOST AN ON-AIR SYMPOSIUM DEALING WITH A RANGE OF SCHOOL ISSUES, SOME OF WHICH WE TOUCHED UPON HERE ON IOWA PRESS TODAY. IT'S TITLED "WHO WILL TEACH IOWA'S CHILDREN?" AND THE SEMINAR FOCUSES ON K-12 ISSUES. A NOTABLE GROUP OF TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS, LEGISLATORS, PARENTS, AND EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS WILL FOCUS ON THE PROBLEMS AND THE SOLUTIONS IN FRONT OF US. THIS ON-AIR SEMINAR IS PRODUCED AS A COOPERATIVE EFFORT WITH THE DES MOINES REGISTER. THAT'S HERE AT 8 O'CLOCK THIS EVENING ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. WELL, THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. DEAN BORG RETURNS WITH US NEXT SUNDAY AT THE SAME TIME. I HOPE YOU WILL AS WELL. I'M DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Narrator: FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY... THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 IOWA BUSINESSES EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.