Each year the legislature must pass Supplemental School Aid, also known as SSA, within the first 30 days after receiving the Governors’ budget proposal per Iowa law. On Thursday afternoon the Iowa House fulfilled this duty with the passage HF 2316.
SSA is set each year as a percentage of growth in state aid, it is an additional appropriation to K-12 schools outside of what they’re appropriated in the Education Budget passed toward the end of session.
This year House Republican K-12 education funding plan places over $159 million of new money into schools. In just the State Supplemental Aid bill, schools see a funding increase of 2.5% for both the regular program and categorical supplements. The State Cost Per Pupil (SCPP) amount on which the school aid formula is based increases from $7,234 to $7,413, an $186 increase per student. The House GOP plan includes a $5 State Cost Per Pupil increase to narrow the District Cost Per Pupil (DCPP) gap, as well as transportation equity funding in order to get school districts up to the state-wide average when it comes to transportation costs.
This year HF 2316 provides K-12 districts with an increase of funding for normal operations, plus additional support to help transportation costs and meet other budget demands. In the past Republicans have been accused of cutting funding for schools and that K-12 education has been underfunded, but those claims are simply not true. Republicans have increased funding each year over the past 10 years. Below is a chart which shows the increase of state funding per pupil from 2012-2023.
The additional investment this year will bring total school funding for Pre-K-12, to over $3.63 billion in the coming year. This will be roughly 44.2 percent of total state spending which is the largest share of the state budget.
In addition to the money being allocated to schools via SSA, House Republicans are proposing an additional $19.2 million for schools to use to offset the extra costs of employing para-educators, substitute teachers, bus drivers, and administrative and support staff due to worker shortages, and other increased costs incurred by the school district resulting from inflation.
House Republicans recognize what is happening around the country with inflation and with worker shortages. This money will help support schools who are also feeling the hurt of high inflation, and will get positions filled at schools as well as offset higher costs.
Regardless of party affiliation I think all Iowans can agree that we share a combined goal of providing the best educational opportunities for our students. With this additional funding we are accomplishing that goal in part. We will continue to make sustainable and reliable investments in education while providing parents and their students with the best options and opportunities for success.