Nearly 200 delegates from the Iowa Association of School Board’s (IASB) member school boards and area education agency (AEA) boards gathered at Delegate Assembly on Nov. 17 to conduct the annual meeting, convene nominating caucuses for open seats on the IASB Board of Directors, and set the platform for the 2022 legislative session.
Delegates approved five legislative priorities, including one priority aimed at increasing funding for dropout prevention programs that progress at-risk students through a successful high school education.
“We need to fix an inequity in funding for initiatives aimed at identifying and keeping students in school,” said IASB Board President Jim Green, “Districts are limited with these funds due to a legislative cap set 10 years ago. That inequity means 199 school districts are limited in their ability to provide these crucial services to at-risk students.”
In addition to dropout prevention, the approved platform includes a priority that was exacerbated during the pandemic-student mental health.
“Now, more than ever, we must focus efforts to increase funding and statewide access for preventative and treatment mental health services to all Iowa students. The mental wellbeing of Iowa’s future citizens has always been a priority, but with the isolation and stress caused by the pandemic, it has moved to the top of the list,” said Green.
Legislative Priorities for the 2022 Legislative Session:
* Increased funding for dropout prevention and at-risk funding;
* Increased funding and statewide access for mental health services to all Iowa students;
* Supporting additional tools to recruit and retain quality educators;
* Continuation of the school funding policy that ensures equity, especially in transportation costs and district cost per pupil rates; and
* Setting supplemental state aid rates in a timely way, with sufficient resources to sustain world-class schools.
IASB’s Delegate Assembly is a vital link connecting board members and legislative issues. The resolutions’ process gives each school board the opportunity to suggest priorities for the platform, then vote on the final platform and priorities. Each board appoints one board member as delegate to represent their board’s views.