GOP: Grassley Bulletin

January 24, 2020
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One of our first orders of business each session is determining how much new money schools will be receive in the next state budget. It’s important that we do this as early as possible so that school boards can begin to set their budgets for the upcoming school year.

In her Condition of the State Address, Governor Reynolds proposed a K-12 funding package totaling $103 million. As part of her package, she is proposing an increase of $94.7 million for State Supplemental Aid (SSA) with an additional increase of $5.5 million that will be targeted to rural school districts with higher transportation costs than the statewide average. She has also proposed a $1 million increase for operational sharing agreements to support work-based learning and nearly $1 million in additional funding for mental health training for teachers and school personnel.

House Republicans have already begun discussing the Governor’s proposal and looking forward to working with her to make Iowa schools first.

Over the last nine years, funding for Iowa’s K-12 schools has increased by $863 million, or about 35%. K-12 education accounts for about 45% of the state’s entire general fund budget and when you account for Regent universities and community colleges, it accounts for more than half. It is clear that education is a top priority in the budget.

This strong record of investment has resulted in a significant increase in the number of full-time teachers, a lower student-teacher ratio, and competitive teacher pay compared to other states. Not only that, student achievement in Iowa ranks high with our graduation rate being the best in the country and student ACT scores are among the highest nationally.

While SSA is important for schools, we also understand that each school has its own unique challenges and we have worked hard to address them. A perfect example is the higher transportation costs that rural school districts face. We have provided schools with additional funding to reduce the cost of transportation and ensure money makes its ways into the classroom. Additionally, we have begun to reduce the long-standing inequity in the school funding formula that provides some schools with less money per student than others. It had been two decades since the Legislature had last addressed this issue. We have received tremendous feedback from school boards and administrators who have praised our efforts.

As we move forward in the session, we will set SSA in a timely fashion and work to provide Iowa’s schools with additional tools and resources to meet the needs of their students and teachers.

The Bulletin is distributed to local newspapers and interested constituents. I encourage you to contact me at any time throughout the year with any issues or concerns. Whether I am down in Des Moines or on the farm in New Hartford, remember that I work for you.  Without your input, I cannot properly represent your views. I look forward to hearing from you this legislative session, and I am excited to continue my work for the people of House District 50.

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