Greetings from Capitol Hill:
Supplemental State Aid and School Transportation Costs:
House Republicans continue to make Iowa’s K-12 schools a top priority every year. Building on our past commitment, this week the House and Senate leaders announced an agreement on K-12 funding package for the 2019-20 school year. This agreement includes an additional:
• $89.3 million in new funding for Iowa’s K-12 Schools ($78.6 million in SSA).
• $7.8 million to reduce transportation cost for rural schools, ensuring more dollars make it into the classroom.
• $2.9 million to reduce the cost per pupil gap by $5 per student, continuing to reduce a long-time inequity that has existed in the school funding formula since the 1970’s.
Last year, the House put an additional $11.2 million in the cost of transportation for those schools that had transportation costs over $453.00. This year, we are going to put another $7.8 million in transportation costs for high-cost districts to bring cost down to an estimated $381.00. The concept here is not set in stone but, going forward, we are going to try to reduce cost to the state average for those schools that are above state average. This brings the total additional transportation budget to $19 million.
As an effort to reduce student inequity, in 2018 we put $5 per student into the general fund for school districts who didn’t previously have that fund, this year we will be adding an additional $5 per student. We hope to continue to work student inequity down over the course of several years. In addition to reducing inequity, if the cost is covered by the constituents of that school district, this action will eventually reduce their property taxes.
As I have said many times, the additional cost for transportation is coming straight out of the rural classrooms. After working on school transportation cost for over three terms, I am happy to report good progress on the SSA, school transportation costs, and state student equity.
Forums this month;
Please join Representative Gassman for the first legislative forums of District 7:
Friday, February 15:
Heritage Hall, Buffalo Center.
Lake Mills Theater
216 W Main St, Lake Mills, IA 50450
Waldorf College, Forest City
*Check local papers for forum times*
Saturday, February 16:
Algona Public Library, at 10 a.m.
Please contact Representative Gassman with questions at 515.538.0117 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.