The Iowa House has passed a bill that would provide temporary relief of one year to schools with the highest transportation costs. Last year, the Senate passed a bill with a comprehensive 10-year plan that assisted all districts with transportation costs. Now the Senate will have to consider the House’s narrowed down plan.
Due to the large area that some rural school districts have to cover, and some spots of the state that have geological features where rivers do not have bridges with direct routes over them, there is a significantly higher transportation cost per student than more compact districts. This translates into less money provided for educational needs of students.
The bill also reduced the gap in the school aid formula where some districts have more spending authority than others. The current gap between school districts at the highest level in spending and those at the state wide level is $175 per student. The bill modestly raised the floor for those at the statewide level so the gap would now be $170 per student.
Opponents of the bill also wanted the transportation and school aid issues addressed, but preferred the long-term solution like the Senate’s original plan. The bill has now headed back to the Senate floor for further consideration.