The 2018 Iowa LegislThe 2018 Iowa Legislative session started on January 8th. There are a several important topics for CCA and other Iowa Schools.
- State Supplemental Aid: State supplemental Aid is typically discussed as the percent increase in per pupil funding in the State. Last week Governor Reynolds recommended a SSA increase of 1.5% for Iowa Schools. Currently the cost per pupil is $6,700, a 1.5% increase would take it to $6,800, or an additional $100/student. In talking with legislators it seems more likely that SSA will more likely be approved at somewhere between 0% and 1%.
At CCA our certified enrollment was up 187 students on the October 1, 2017 count day. In the event of a 0% increase in SSA the district would see “new money” of $1,250,900. The Governor’s recommendation would result in “new money” of $1,271,600.
While CCA is fortunate to have “new money”, the low SSA percentage makes maintaining the class sizes the district and our patrons value impossible. With all other expenses increasing at a faster rate than SSA revenue increases we are put in the position to do more with less.
2. SAVE extension: Secure an Advanced Vision for Education, SAVE is revenue for Iowa schools generated from sales tax across the State. The program was initially voted into existence by each of Iowa’s 99 counties and later became a State wide per pupil funding stream. Funds from SAVE can be utilized for large equipment purchases, facilities construction and maintenance, vehicle purchases, and technology purchases.
At CCA much of our SAVE revenue was bonded against previously in order to build the high school athletic complex, Performing Arts Center, and a pod of classrooms at North Bend Elementary. The current SAVE legislation sunsets in 2029.
An extension to the SAVE legislation is critical for CCA, as well as nearly every district in Iowa. For CCA the funds from an extension could be utilized for the purchase of a site for a future high school, projected to be needed in 2027; construction for a transportation facility; construction for a baseball/softball complex at the current high school; and help fund construction of a future high school.
3. Transportation Equalization: A bill nearly made it through the legislature last session that would have supported districts with per pupil transportation costs higher than the State average. While CCA isn’t significantly higher than the State average, the bill would have brought approximately $50,000 to the district as it was developed last session. Those dollars would certainly be welcomed in our tight budget. This is also a critical bill for many rural districts who have much higher transportation costs per pupil.
4. Education Savings Accounts: There continues to be talk of establishing an Education Savings account for families who choose options other than public education. Under the current system private schools receive State dollars for services like special education, meal programs, etc. An Education Savings account would allow families to personally collect the per pupil funding rate from the State to apply it to private education, home school costs, or bank it for college tuition. While there are certainly plenty of opinions on utilizing public tax dollars for private education, perhaps the biggest question is where would the State get the revenue to fund such a program in the current fiscal environment?
Please make the effort to contact your legislators and share your feelings regarding any and all of these issues. If you have questions about any of them feel free to contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org, 319-828-4510.
Below are the legislators representing CCA:
Link to the webpage with emails.