Local Senator Taylor votes to reverse Iowa’s slide in school investment

Written by Theresa Rose on February 10, 2015

Senate-approved plan will create
more opportunities for students

(Des Moines) On Tuesday, February 10, State Senator Rich Taylor of Mount Pleasant voted to reverse the trend that has made Iowa 35th in the nation in terms of per student investment.

“Iowans understand that our state’s future economic success depends on raising well educated, productive citizens, the kind of people worth paying a decent salary,” said Taylor. “Competing for low skill, low wage jobs is an economic dead end. That’s why the fight to regain Iowa’s place near the top of student achievement is so important.”

The Senate-approved plan focuses on paying for the basics, including purchasing up-to-date textbooks, reducing class sizes, keeping the lights on, gassing up the buses, and strengthening teacher quality. The Senate vote follows an earlier vote in the Republican-controlled Iowa House which approved an inadequate 1.25 percent increase. Iowa school superintendents have warned that such a small increase would fail to keep up with costs, resulting in teacher layoffs, crowded classrooms, fewer classes, and outdated materials.

“Great local schools help draw people and jobs to our local communities,” Taylor said. “Other states have also figured that out, and now invest more per student than we do here in Iowa. As Iowa’s financial support for students relative to other states has fallen, so has our academic progress compared to other states. While it is good that our schools have held steady despite falling investment, other states are investing more and scoring higher as a result.”

Taylor voted for a 4 percent increase in local school funding Senate Files171 and 172 (FY16), and Senate Files 174 and 175 (FY17). He also voted to use additional state dollars to prevent any related property tax increase (SF 173 and SF 176). The Senate action would affect funding for the 2015-2016 and 2016-17 school years.

Below are estimates of basic school aid that schools will use when writing their budgets in Senator Taylor’s district for the 2015-2016 school year. This assumes that the 4 percent increase approved by the Iowa Senate is also approved by the Iowa House and signed by Governor Branstad.

(Data provided by the Legislative Service Agency)

School District

FY 2016 Basic School Budget (Estimate)*

Increase over last year (Estimate)

Central Lee

$7,200,042.00

$276,768.00

Fairfield

$15,222,612.00

$463,642.00

Fort Madison

$20,258,979.33

$780,510.00

Highland

$5,885,107.33

$202,011.00

Keokuk

$18,578,639.33

$536,962.00

Mount Pleasant

$18,209,685.00

$702,897.00

New London

$4,603,401.67

$26,160.00

Waco

$4,515,036.67

$152,194.00

Washington

$16,290,267.67

$308,504.00

Winfield-Mt Union

$3,296,016.00

$39,663.00