Republican lawmakers at the State Capitol are fast tracking their bill to shortchange public schools. They just don’t want to listen to Iowans.
They’ve proposed just a 1.1% increase next year. That’s even less than the 2% recommended by the Governor. If approved, their plan for public schools (House File 136) will be the 7th year in a row of historic low funding for Iowa’s school kids. According to Iowa’s superintendents, any funding increase of 2% or less would force local schools to: raise class size (71%); layoff teachers (61%); delay textbook purchases (65%); and reduce class offerings for kids (58%).
This year, Republicans gave out over $500 million in new corporate tax breaks and credits. The Republican increase for public schools is less than 1/10th the cost of those corporate tax giveaways. Republican lawmakers and Lt. Governor Reynolds are also crafting a voucher bill which will shift hundreds of millions more of our tax dollars from public schools to homeschools and private schools.
The Republican approach means more school closures, especially in rural communities.