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House Republicans have been steadily investing in our K-12 education system over the last decade that we have been in the majority. Since 2011, when Iowans gave us control of the Iowa House, we have been able to increase the investment in Iowa schools by roughly $1 billion dollars.

This year we have once again worked to set school funding in a timely fashion and at a rate that meets the needs of school districts across the state. Last week we passed a Supplemental State Aid (SSA) increase for schools of 2.4% for the upcoming school year. This translates into an additional $36.5 million in funding this year bringing our total state aid for schools to over $3.3 billion per year. This is a significant amount of the overall state budget and where the majority of your tax dollars are being invested.

The bill also included an extension of the Property Tax Relief Payment (PTRP), which has the state pick up any property tax growth in the Additional Levy portion of the school funding formula.

The State Cost Per Pupil amount on which the school aid formula is based increases from $7,048 to $7,217 per pupil.  However, this amount will increase to $7,227 per pupil because the bill includes a $10 State Cost Per Pupil increase to narrow the District Cost Per Pupil gap. This also continues to address transportation equity costs which is raised at the same rate as SSA.

In addition to the SSA bill which has now passed both the House and Senate, the Legislature is also working on an additional aid package for schools to help cover costs that are being incurred during the pandemic. Every school district has faced new challenges this past year whether from the pandemic or the derecho that ripped through our state. These challenges have forced schools to take on additional costs while educating our students.

The proposal that House Republicans have passed would provide an additional $27.2 million for the current school year to help schools cover their additional costs. Under the proposal schools will receive a funding supplement in an amount calculated by the department of management that is proportionate to the school district’s total in-person and hybrid instruction days as a share of the statewide total in-person instruction days.

What this translates into for schools is that those districts that incurred more costs for offering in-person/hybrid learning will receive a higher percentage of the additional aid based on how many in-person days they were able to complete.

House Republicans will continue to invest in our students and educators as we know this is extremely important to Iowans and will help make a brighter future for the next generation.

Author: Matt Windschitl