Ottumwa High School hosts Governor Branstad's Education Reform Town Hall

Education Reform was the topic of conversation Wednesday at a town-hall meeting featuring Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

"We've got to have broad-based bipartisan support to get this done," said Governor Branstad.

That was the echoing theme from the governor throughout the meeting.

"We need people in communities all across Iowa that really want to do what can be done to have a great teacher in every classroom and make sure we have teachers in leadership roles that can inspire and encourage students to achieve beyond what they imagined they could," Branstad said.

Superintendents from 25 school districts across southeast Iowa came to hear the governor's remarks; but they also shared some of their ideas, such as Cardinal Community School District's zero tolerance policy for students that do not complete their homework.

"I am very encouraged, a lot of good ideas, a lot of school districts are doing innovative things. We want to make sure the state is supporting and encouraging that," Branstad said.

But the big elephant in the room was; how does the state fund all of the reforms?

"I think those ideas are great, but when he starts talking about changing compensation and financing some of this with making state employees paying 20% of their health insurance, I am not excited about that," said Steve Siegel of AFSCME Iowa Council 61.

The debate is sure to be front and center when the Iowa General Assembly gathers in January for the 2013 session.