The Gazette Daily News Podcast, March 9

Weather for Monday, March 9

It’s going to be another week in the 50s…. But it’ll also be a wet one. Today you can expect showers and maybe even a thunderstorm. Today’s high will be near 54.
Tonight, expect more rain before 10pm as temperatures dip to 33.
The rest of the week will see on and off rain, with a chance of snow on Friday night and going into Saturday, but with temperatures bouncing up again, don’t expect anything to stick.

Coronavirus Comes to Cedar Rapids

On Saturday, Governor Reynolds partially activated the State Emergency Operations Center as a precaution against COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. According to its website, the Emergency Center coordinates and supports homeland security and emergency management functions in Iowa. The governor’s office stated the center provides a mechanism for face-to-face coordination and information sharing between state agencies and other partners.

While it was a preventative action, it took less than 24 hours for Iowa’s first coronavirus cases to be confirmed with three Johnson County residents who tested positive after returning from an Egyptian cruise last week.

Be sure to follow standard cold and flu season preventative actions such as frequent hand washing and covering your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and avoid public areas if you’re not feeling well.

State Education Funding

After a debate over the state education budget, a proposal is on its way to Gov. Reynolds’ desk to increase state funding in K-12 public schools by 2.3 percent. Republicans insist education is a top priority, pointing out K-12 funding will be roughly $3.4 billion in fiscal 2021.

Sen. Michael Breitbach is saying to take the focus off the percentages and look at the actual numbers, calling the $100 million expansion bill a “pretty good shot in the arm.”

Democrats are pushing back with fears of budget crunches and and teacher layoffs, however in 10 years of Republican control, the total number of teachers working in the state have actually gone up.

Iowa City Community School District did reduce staff last year after cutting millions from its budget, but the district expects to bring back some of the positions due to a slightly larger increase.

Today's edition was produced by Stephen Colbert. Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon Alexa to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what’s the news?"