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Iowa Starting Line Story Leads To Money In Teachers’ Pockets


Des Moines, IA — A story reported by COURIER outlet Iowa Starting Line (ISL) last month about teacher “thank you” bonuses being taxed by the state led directly to a State House amendment to put that money back in the pockets of Iowa teachers.

Having read previous ISL coverage on education and GOP efforts to impose state control over classrooms, affected teachers reached out to senior editor Ty Rushing to bring to light a discrepancy in the bonus promised by IA Governor Kim Reynolds (R) and the actual payout.

That reporting led to the introduction of an amendment by State Rep. Chuck Isenhart (D-Dubuque) to address the issue, citing Rushing’s reporting on the House floor. One week later, a similar, Republican-backed amendment passed the House, exempting the teacher bonuses’ from state taxes.

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One Iowa labor leader later told ISL, “(y)our team got a lot of people paid.”

“Rushing and ISL’s reporting on Iowa’s teacher bonuses is another example of the direct and sometimes immediate impact quality, local reporting and access to good information can have on people’s everyday lives,” said Tara McGowan, founder and publisher of Courier Newsroom. “COURIER’s teams work day in and day out to not only represent the communities who are often forgotten by legacy news outlets through their reporting, but to inform them about how politics and policies impact their lives, which then empowers those communities to become more civically engaged. Democracy is at its best when everyone participates in it and that’s what nimble, local journalism can help make possible.”


RC Di Mezzo