From Senator Rich TaylorWritten by Theresa Rose on August 12, 2019
K-12 must prepare students for work
Iowa students are preparing to head back to school. I hope each and every one of them will get the education and opportunities they need for the ever-changing economy and world of work.
The best opportunities and brightest future depend on a strong investment in education. However, years of school funding that haven’t kept up with inflation may not be adequate to achieve that goal.
Iowa is competing with other states for a talented workforce and thriving businesses, but we are falling behind them when it comes to how much of the state budget we invest in K-12.
When funding doesn’t keep up with inflation, schools can’t pay their utilities, upgrade technology and textbooks, or fill teaching positions. The result: class sizes become unmanageable; students don’t get the attention they need; programs are eliminated; and school buildings close.
I’m hoping some of the additional steps the Legislature took this year will help ease the burden on local schools. They include:
- Decreasing inequities in state funding for local schools (HF 307) with additional dollars for districts that have above-average costs per student and the highest busing expenses.
- Improving school facilities (HF 546) by continuing to allocate a portion of state sales tax to help schools finance big improvements, especially for school safety and security projects.
- Helping high school students get a jumpstart on job training (HF 546) with a new Career Academy Fund that allows them to earn college credit for academic, technical and work-based learning for high-skill fields.
- Extending financial incentives for schools that share personnel and programs (HF 596). This allows schools to operate more efficiently without being forced to consolidate. After many years of lean school funding, sharing is becoming increasingly popular.
This is a legislative update from State Senator Rich Taylor, representing Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties. For bio, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/taylor.
To contact Senator Rich Taylor when the Legislature is in session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at 319-931-1568. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Senator Rich Taylor is an Assistant Leader. He serves on the following committees: