Local leaders react to Governorâ??s Condition of the State speech

All eyes were on Iowa Governor Terry Branstad Tuesday, as he delivered his 17th Condition of the State address.

The entire Iowa General Assembly was in attendance to hear what ideas and goals the governor had for Iowans in the coming years.

Governor Branstad spend a majority of the time speaking about a 4-point jobs and careers plan of action and about how to make Iowaâ??s school system the best in the country.

Fairfield Representative Curt Hanson was in attendance for the speech. Hanson told KTVO that the speech had some great points for both sides of the aisle to recognize.

â??He did mention that Iowa should be a model for the rest of the nation on how the two parties can work together, and how our fiscal health this year has greatly improved. We should now concentrate on those two things that are really important to all Iowans, jobs and schools. He mentioned that Iowa no longer competes against other states, but now competes globally,â?? said Hanson.

Educators from across the state paid close attention to the governorâ??s 10-point plan on making Iowaâ??s school system the best nationwide.

One local educator, Dr. Jon Sheldahl, former Ottumwa Community School District Superintendent and current Chief Administrator at the Greater Prairie AEA was not surprised by the governorâ??s remarks.

Sheldahl told KTVO that when he viewed the blueprint by the governorâ??s office for the proposed reforms, there were some items for everyone to like and for some to disagree with. He spoke about one such item, the governorâ??s proposal to retain 3rd graders that arenâ??t proficient in reading by the end of the school term.

â??One of the things that is really polarizing in the bill is the idea of retaining students if they are not reading proficiently at the end of the third grade. There is a lot of research out their about the negative impact of retention, but there is also a lot of research out their about the benefits of early intervention and extended learning programs. So, if for example, if we are going to put adequate resources into time and instruction for kids who aren't proficient all the way up until 3rd grade, then maybe retaining 3rd grade students won't be the issue that people are afraid that it will be,â?? said Sheldahl.

One item that Sheldahl found concerning was that the governor did not mention in his 10-point plan the topic of allowable growth for school districts.

School administrators across the Heartland are hoping they will see an increase in the money they are allowed to spend during the 2013 school year. Without an increase in spending authority, schools can find their budgets in peril if there is an unexpected increase in the cost of running the district. A big jump in fuel prices for instance, may mean the school has to cut staff to make their budgets work.

Ottumwa Community School District Superintendent Dr. Davis Eidahl told KTVO that the governorâ??s focus on education in his speech was very positive, and that he currently canâ??t find anything that he is against.

â??There is not anything in the plan that I can say I disagree with. Some of the items in the plan, more detail needs to be placed before I can really form a better educated opinion on it. But, I think the framework and layout and ideas are all the right things to move student achievement forward,â?? said Eidahl.

For more information on Governor Terry Branstadâ??s speech, click here..