When I first came to the Senate one of my major goals was to address the high costs of transportation for many of our rural school districts. I could not even get the discussion started until the last 4 years when Republicans gained a majority in the Iowa Senate and Sen. Sinclair got the ball rolling and asked me to help.
The plan was put in place 3 years ago and the amount was increased last year and now again this year we will add more dollars. It is frustrating to read and hear statements from people that we have done nothing to help rural schools. Apparently, they have not talked to the school districts that are able to do things they couldn’t do before.
The additional funding for transportation costs are directed to schools with higher than average costs to get students back and forth to school. With the passage of this year’s funding, schools with higher than average costs will receive extra funding to make up the difference in those costs .
Some school districts in Iowa do not get additional transportation funding. The reason is that most of their kids are in town and don’t require much, if any, transportation to school.
The high point of the week was the appropriation to provide funding for flood damage and most of that money was for southwest Iowa. $21 million was approved and the Senate is prepared to spend additional money if necessary..The $21 million will get money to projects that need to be done now to TRY to prevent more damage this spring. I have heard some encouraging news from these areas about the progress of these projects but we all know it will take years and things may never be back to the way it used to be.