The Senate has passed the K-12 school funding bill and sent it to the Governor. With another year of low funding on the way for public schools, students in K-12 schools will likely find higher class sizes and fewer opportunities next year. When adjusted for inflation, public schools have received just a $33 per student increase over eight years, which is less than 1% each year. Iowa’s per pupil funding is now $1,111 below the national average.
At the same time the Majority Party was approving the plan to underfund public schools, new data was released that found 105 public schools buildings have closed their doors over the last several years. Iowans already know that closing public schools has a devastating impact on neighborhoods, small towns, and rural communities.
Last year, the Majority Party got rid of the law requirement that schools be provided funding a year in advance to give them time to plan their budgets. Instead they established a 30-day deadline from when the Governor submitted her budget.
With feuding between the House and Senate on a transportation plan tied to school aid, the Majority Party missed their own 30-day deadline, and schools will not receive their school funding quickly like they wanted. Legislators finally settled on a 1-year plan for transportation costs, instead of a long-term plan previously passed by the Senate. Both bills have now been sent to the Governor for her signature.