Area educators campaign for support
Last Wednesday, more than 150 education leaders and school superintendents were rallying at the Iowa Capitol, united in their vocation and also in their request for Iowa legislators to attend to the needs of the state’s students.
“If you are not directly involved with budgeting for one of Iowa’s public schools or Area Education Agencies, you might not fully grasp the funding crisis that our education system is really in,” said Dr. Theron Schutte, Marshalltown superintendent, one of the superintendents attending Wednesday’s event. “This event provides an important opportunity for school leaders to have productive conversations with our elected officials about the local impact of diminished funding and what’s needed to maintain quality programming for all of Iowa’s students. As school leaders, we have a responsibility to speak on behalf of all the students and families that we serve.”
Representatives from every Area Education Agency and school districts across the state will be speaking to legislators about the demands of public education and the legislators’ support of their work. They will be highlighting their district needs as they relate to:
• The removal of the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) sunset. The extension of this revenue source is urgently needed for this funding to successfully address school district facility needs.
• An increase in State Supplemental Aid (SSA) that provides adequate resources for students and teachers, is timely and equitable, and takes into account overall state revenue growth.
• The removal of the sunset for operational sharing incentives. These supports have been critical to small and rural school districts as they deal with declining enrollments and increased transportation costs.
• Support for state policy that identifies options and provides resources for school districts to use to address the complex issues of student suicide and other serious mental health-related issues.
• Legislation that addresses the inequities of transportation per-pupil costs for school districts with higher than the state average (per-pupil) transportation costs.
Districts from our area who were scheduled to have representatives in attendance include AGWSR, Belmond-Klemme, BGM, Central Springs, Charles City, Denver, Dike-New Hartford, Forest City, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura, Grinnell-Newburg, Hubbard-Radcliffe, Hudson, Iowa Falls, Alden, Janesville, Jesup, Marshalltown, Montezuma, North Iowa, Northwood-Kensett, Osage, South Tama County, St. Ansgar, Sumner-Fredericksburg, Waterloo, and Waverly-Shell Rock.
“With this united outreach opportunity, we welcome the opportunity to help legislators understand the impact of their decisions on the families and children in their respective districts,” said Dr. Tom Lane, Executive Director of Iowa Area Education Agencies.