SCHOOL FUNDING DELAY THREATENS STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT

Written by Theresa Rose on March 27, 2015

State funding for our local schools remains undecided, even after a fourth meeting this week of the special legislative committee charged with finding a compromise between the House and the Senate.
At the most recent meeting House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha insisted on setting state aid for the 2015-16 school year at 1.25 percent but his motion failed on a tie vote. All the Republican members of the committee supported the Speaker’s meager proposal; all Democrats voted against it.
We’ve got to get past the gridlock. Students, parents, teachers, administrators and other concerned Iowans are counting on us. They say that local school boards are making critical budget decisions now. Schools will have to cut staff and teachers, stuff more students into classrooms and reduce educational and extracurricular offerings if they don’t get more than a 1.25 percent increase in state funding.
Woodbury Central Community School officials said their local schools need more.
Superintendent Doug Glackin told a Sioux City TV station, “When we started cutting, we were cutting the fat and then we got a 0% allowable growth in fiscal year 2011-2012 and then we started cutting the bacon. If we get to 1.25%, we’ll be cutting into the rib meat and into the loin pretty soon and that’s never good.”
Clear Lake Superintendent Anita Micich has told the local newspaper: “You cannot starve the schools in Iowa and expect to have world-class (education) continue.”
It’s not just smaller, rural school districts. Ankeny is among the largest school districts in the state. Their school board president said, “1.25 percent is irresponsible. We’re at the point where we are cutting programming and looking at class sizes.”
If your local schools are making these same tough budget decisions, please contact me so that I can share your concerns with conference committee members as they hammer out a final decision.

UPCOMING PUBLIC FORUMS
• Friday, March 27, 12 noon: Keokuk at the Hawkeye Steak House
• Saturday, March 28, 8:30 a.m.: Mount Pleasant at the IWC Library
• Friday, April 17, 12 noon: Fort Madison at the Palm’s Supper Club
• Saturday, April 18, 8:30 a.m.: Fairfield at the Best Western Hotel
• Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m.: Washington Economic Development Legislative Forum at the Washington County Courthouse