GOP: House Republicans Gave Iowa Schools a #BetterDeal in 2017

June 5, 2017

Education for Iowa’s children is one of our top priorities and House Republicans are committed to providing a world-class education for Iowa’s students.

During the 2017 legislative session, House Republicans increased funding for K-12 education, provided more funding flexibility, and allowed for more decision making at the local level.  Most importantly, House Republicans broadened the conversation about education beyond the yearly decision on how much additional money to invest.

It’s clear that following the 2017 session, Iowa schools are getting a #BetterDeal.

Giving schools more flexibility

House Republicans recognize that no two school districts are exactly alike and have worked to allow schools to better meet the specific needs of their students and teachers.

One of the major achievements of the 2017 session was providing school districts with more flexibility.  House Republicans worked closely with school boards, superintendents, and other officials to craft a flexibility plan that will likely benefit every district.

This plan gives schools more allowable uses on funding and loosens many of the strings that are tied to various sources of funding.  It also allows schools to use funds that are continually stuck in accounts, due to burdensome state restrictions, on specific needs that needs that they have.

Allowing more local decision making

House Republicans also gave Home Rule to Iowa’s school districts.  This will allow locally-elected school boards across Iowa to govern their schools in a way that meets the needs of their students, teachers, and communities.

Home Rule will provide schools with the opportunity to explore innovative and bold ways to educate our children.

No budget reductions for K-12 in FY17

When the Legislature convened earlier this year, the state budget faced a $117 million shortfall due to lower than anticipated revenue growth.  House Republicans fought to protect K-12 education from any budget reductions.

Investing in our future

While many areas of government have seen budget reductions over the last several years, funding for K-12 has increased.  This was a very difficult budget year but House Republicans made K-12 education a priority, investing an additional $40 million into schools for the 2017-18 school year.

House Republicans are committed to fulfilling this promise.  Past Legislatures made a nasty habit of passing funding increases that they couldn’t afford or couldn’t follow through on.  The cost of these increases then fell on the backs of property taxpayers who were forced to pick up the Legislature’s tab.

Funding for K-12 schools now totals almost $3.2 billion annually, which is $735 million more than it was before House Republicans were in the majority.  Most importantly, schools have been able to count on this funding every year.

Setting timely, dependable funding for schools

House Republicans have also reformed the timeline for when school funding is set.  Previously, funding was required to be set 18 months in advance of the school year, whereas the new law requires the Legislature to set funding in the first 30 days of the session.

It has become clear revenue estimates a year and a half early are unreliable.  By setting funding in the first 30 days, schools will have the certainty they need to set their budgets and will be able to count on the level of funding set by the Legislature.  Additionally, taxpayers won’t have an unexpected property tax increase.

Clearly Iowa schools are getting a #BetterDeal!


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