It’s more necessary than ever that Iowa takes every possible step to preserve educational opportunity in our schools.
Years of inadequate funding — tiny increases that don’t keep up with inflation — have hurt local schools, and the problem is getting worse. The new budget proposed by legislative Republicans who control the Iowa House and Senate significantly reduces funding for preK-12 initiatives and, in some cases, eliminates popular programs.
I will not support unnecessary cuts that threaten the quality of Iowa education. It’s the worst thing we could do for Iowa’s future. I will, however, look for any possible way to help our students and schools.
Here are two approaches we’re working on this year:
- Flexibility in using school funding – I was proud to support HF 564, which adds to the expenses allowed under various categories of funding. This will help schools use limited funding effectively. Similarly, HF 565 allows some unused funds to go into a “Flexibility Account” to be used in a broader fashion to achieve the goals of the original funding.
- Greater authority for school boards – HF 573 allows school districts “home rule.” School boards would get broad powers similar to those that city and county governments have.
These bills won’t overcome the struggles created by years of inadequate state funding, but they may help our schools better manage the limited dollars they have to work with.