Dems: All local school funding problems would be eased by increased basic aid to schools

December 2, 2015
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December 2, 2015

High school students Kyle Michael, a sophomore, and Tyler Barretto, a junior, from Oelwein showed Senator Brian Schoenjahn their engineering project, a marble sorter, on April 19 at the Capitol. The students are involved in Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a program that focuses on engineering and biomedical sciences. PLTW supplies students with the latest technology and quality instructors who put them on the track to college.

High school students Kyle Michael, a sophomore, and Tyler Barretto, a junior, from Oelwein showed Senator Brian Schoenjahn their engineering project, a marble sorter, on April 19 at the Capitol. The students are involved in Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a program that focuses on engineering and biomedical sciences. PLTW supplies students with the latest technology and quality instructors who put them on the track to college.

Opening Statement by Senator Brian Schoenjahn of Arlington, Co-Chair of the School Finance Inequities Study Committee

Today we will focus on the different funding challenges faced by Iowa’s local schools.

Some school districts, due to their geographical size, have larger transportation costs.  Others, due to their student bodies, spend more to educate English Language Learners or to counter the effects of poverty.

EVERY local school funding in our state must begin with, one, the critical need to increase BASIC school funding and, two, the lack of bipartisan support to do so here at the Statehouse.

Today, Iowa invests $1,600 less per student than the national average. Even worse, we are falling further behind.

We are failing to invest in our local schools.  That means our school superintendents, school boards, and teachers are being forced LOWER expectations and TAKE AWAY opportunities for their students.

School boards and superintendents are making difficult decisions that include:

  • Pushing talented, successful, caring teachers out of the classroom.
  • Jamming more students into fewer classrooms.
  • Eliminating or cutting back on art, music, drama, and sports…the so-called “extras” that often inspire students to stay in school and challenge themselves.

Every one of the school funding problems we will discuss today would be a smaller problem if we had bipartisan support for an adequate increase in basic aid to our schools.

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