This week, in an effort to come to resolution on the education reform plan which is currently before a House and Senate Conference Committee, House Republicans made a reasonable offer for Iowa students. The plan saves taxpayer money, allows schools to plan ahead for the long term, and implements policy changes focused on achievement-driven reforms.
The new House proposal seeks to find compromise with the Senate on the funding side of things, while maintaining the bill as passed by the House which accomplishes education reform in a meaningful and thoughtful way.
The details include:
- Keep intact policy language and appropriations for House File 215.
- 2 percent increase in Supplemental State Aid (formerly allowable growth) for Fiscal Year 2014, plus a one-time payment equivalent to 2 percent SSA.
- 4 percent increase in Supplemental State Aid for Fiscal Year 2015.
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As a comparison, the House previously passed a total of $87.5 million in Fiscal Year 2014 and $119.3 million in Fiscal Year 2015. The Senate originally passed $135 million in Fiscal Year 2014 and $305 million in Fiscal Year 2015.
Additionally, key pieces of House File 215 that would remain intact are:
- Home Rule which provides more local control for school boards.
- The Teach Iowa Initiative designed to recruit high-quality candidates to the teaching profession.
- A new evaluation system designed to include student achievement and growth, classroom observation and student surveys.
- Freedom for homeschool students and private schools.
This plan offers flexibility for school districts, accountability for parents and protection for taxpayers. I am hopeful that the Senate takes this reasonable offer under serious consideration.
As always, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at my office at (515) 281-3521 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org