Governor Chet Culver held a news conference in the Iowa Statehouse rotunda Monday morning, just down the hall from the heavenly scent of Hickory Park barbecue filling the dome. Culver laid down the tough talk for lawmakers when he said, "I want to make this clear...I will not sign a budget that doesn’t include the funding Iowa’s schools deserve.”
Culver added that, "As a former teacher, as a former coach in the Des Moines public schools, and now as a proud parent of two young children, you're not going to find a governor in America that is more committed to helping our kids and to helping our teachers across this state and administrators."
The governor's threat comes days after a key lawmaker already said the funding would happen and then some. As Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson pointed out, Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal already said over the weekend, lawmakers planned on spending more than the governor asked. The Des Moines Register's Kathie Obradovich took Culver to task for the point of his comments.
The focus of the governor's press conference was a donation to better education. The governor accepted a check from Cargill for $50,000 to go to the iJAG (Iowa Jobs for America's Graduates). It's a program that helps at-risk students get an education and go on to college or a job. It was one of those large ceremonial checks. It also included a date on it: January 27, 2010.