GOP: Majority Leader Hagenow’s Capitol Update

August 27, 2019
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Back to School

Many students across Iowa went back to school this week. Each new school year brings new challenges and opportunities for both teachers and students; with new legislation from last session, we hope these challenges will be easier to face.

One of the top priorities for Iowa schools last session was the extension of the existing school infrastructure tax, known as SAVE. The SAVE fund provides schools with key resources to make updates such as state of the art technology, modern classrooms, and the ability to address the worker shortage through career academics. SAVE is able to address all of these needs while also delivering significant tax relief to local property taxpayers.

Another important aspect of SAVE is it’s ability to provide funds for school security and make sure our schools are safe for students and staff. In the SAVE bill, House Republicans included a provision that prioritizes upgrades like secure entrances, security cameras, and other safety enhancements, before using these funds on athletic facilities. House Republicans know how important it is to keep the students and teachers of Iowa safe while they are at school.

K-12 schools weren’t the only place we worked to improve safety. Last session, with bipartisan support, we were able to pass legislation that aims to address the increasing number of assaults on our college campuses by giving students additional tools to be safe. This bill provides individuals on campus with the ability to decide how best to defend themselves by allowing the carrying of a non-projectile stun gun. This is about public safety and protecting individuals while they are on our college campuses. We trust students to know what they need in order to defend themselves and there should not be any barriers to them using otherwise legal devices.

House Republicans have also made K-12 schools a top priority every year when it comes to constructing the budget. We have an established track record of strong investment in K-12, which has led to more teachers in the classroom, smaller class sizes, and competitive pay for Iowa’s educators. Last year a $90 million funding increase was passed in the first 30 days of session, putting the annual investment in Iowa’s schools at nearly $3.3 billion in the 2019-20 school year.

Over the last two years, House Republicans have made considerable progress toward reducing the unequal transportation costs that rural schools in Iowa face because of the geographic size of their districts. These higher transportation costs result in less funding making its way to the classroom. House Republicans have worked to provide additional resources to rural schools and help ease the burden that these schools face. This funding is now a permanent part of school finance, ensuring that more funding is utilized to benefit students.

With the significant investments made and the focus we put on improving school safety, I hope Iowa’s students and faculty are able to have another successful year.

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