Math. It’s a hard subject for many students regardless of their grade level. Even after graduation, math can bedevil even the smartest amongst us. Over the last past week, Iowa Democrats have been befuddled by mathematics. Those challenges continued at the State Capitol, as House Democrats tried to convince Iowans that a $162 increase in school funding for every student next year is actually a cut.
The Iowa House debated the annual increase in supplemental state aid to schools on Tuesday, along with increases for the school transportation equity funding and per pupil funding equity. Before the House were two bills which increased state funding to Iowa schools by $108 million in the 2020-2021 school year starting in August, raising state funding to schools to $3.386 billion.
The Fiscal Year 2021 increase of $108 million means that taxpayers have invested an additional $968.1 million into Iowa schools since the start of the 2011-2012 school year, which would be a 38.54 percent increase over this period. Yet Democrats insist schools are chronically underfunded. If nearly a billion dollars over the last decade equates to chronic underfunding, what dollar amount signifies adequate funding?
In addition to seeing increased dollar amounts, Iowa’s commitment to education remains steady when it comes to K-12’s share of the General Fund budget. In Fiscal Year 2008, the first of four years of complete Democrat control at the Statehouse, K-12 education received 40.70 percent of the General Fund budget. In FY 2020, K-12’s share was 43 percent.
Then there is the state cost per pupil, the amount the state is committed to providing for each public school student. In Fiscal Year 2012, this amount was $5,883. Under the bills passed by House Republicans this week, that figure in Fiscal Year 2021 will be $7,062 per student. That is an increase of $1,179 over the past decade – a steady increase as shown by the chart below:
State Cost Per Pupil – FY 2011 to FY 2021
House Democrats either ignore or are unaware of these figures. As usual, Iowa Democrats are trying to make Iowans believe an actual increase in funding is really a cut. Iowans know that a $162 increase in funding per student is just that – an increase. But as they’ve proven over the last week, Iowa Democrats struggle when it comes to math.