Funding for schools and busing students

Tod Bowman
Iowa State Senator, 29th Dist.

     The Legislature has finally approved school funding for the 2018-19 school year. I opposed HF 2230 because it was $22 million less than the Republican Governor proposed. This amounts to another year of inadequate funding, which is bad news for Iowa students, families, educators and communities. This will also increase property taxes for more than half of school districts in Iowa.

     Education in Iowa gets a smaller slice of the state budget pie than it does in most other states, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. In a recent report, Iowa ranks 34th in the nation in percent of state dollars spent on K-12 education, well below the national average.

     In a separate bill (SF 455), I voted to support $14 million to make things a little fairer for Iowa students, regardless of where they live. This will help many rural schools.

     This bill reduces the gap in how much school districts can spend per student with the money they get from the state. Every school district will receive a portion of this $2.9 million effort – either to increase school funding or for local property tax relief.

     In addition, a new $11.2 million fund will help school districts that spend the most to bus their students. School districts in Iowa’s small towns and rural areas are using more and more of their education funding to pay for transportation. This translates into fewer dollars for the classroom.

     The one-time investment by SF 455 will not eliminate the problem, but it does provide much-needed financial assistance to 140 rural school districts, making the amount available to educate our kids a little more equal once they arrive at the school doors.


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