Under the Golden Dome

Carrie Koelker
Iowa State Senator, 29th Dist.

Week three has finished in the Iowa Senate and we remain busy as ever running from subcommittee to subcommittee and visiting with constituents between meetings. The pace was in high gear. 

One of the highest profile news items this week was the release of our education-funding proposal for the next fiscal year. As we worked to put together this budget, it was important to keep the promises to help equalize transportation costs, per-pupil spending, and also ensure other priority areas in our budget would be properly funded. 

We released three bills (SSB 3097, SSB 3096, and SSB 3080) to offer additional money for transportation and per student equity, setting the increase in education funding, and allocating money to address behavior problems in the classroom. 

These bills bring the total for new education funding this year to $91.7 million, in addition to last year’s total funding levels. Taking up nearly 43 percent of our budget, K-12 education funding is a priority and this proposal not only demonstrates it, but also provides a sustainable and responsible budget for education funding. When federal and local dollars are included, the average money spent per student in Iowa is more than $15,000. 

Every dollar we have ever promised to K-12 schools over the last three years has been fulfilled, and this proposal would be no exception. Under this proposal, the total increase in K-12 education funding since FY 17 is over $300 million, including $26.6 million specifically for transportation equity. We promised to find a solution for the high transportation costs rural schools experience. This year, we will have fully kept our promise and leveled the playing field between rural and urban schools by buying all school districts down to the statewide average. 

Education funding is typically the biggest policy issue tackled in the first weeks of session, and we are looking forward to working with the House on finalizing a responsible and sustainable education budget. 


Subscriber Login