Education Reform Update and Cost

The Governor delivered the final education proposal, in the form of a policy brief, to the media and legislators last week. The final legislation is being delivered to legislators this week and will start receiving committee consideration likely next week.

The final price tag of the reform package is $25 million. The Governor is asking for $17 million in new money through the Education Appropriations bill, and is repurposing $8 million of existing pools of money for the remainder.

This is a considerably smaller amount than the original estimate of between $100 and $200 million, but the overwhelming bulk of those funds would have gone to support a new career ladder and pay scale for teachers, an provision which has been removed from the final bill.

The $8 million of repurposed money will be taken from the State Categorical Supplements under the Governor’s proposal. $5.2 million would be taken from the Early Intervention Block Grant program, an initiative which is meant to lower class sizes in early grades, and $2.8 million would come from Professional Development Funds. Under the Categorical Supplements, the current amount of the Early Intervention Block Grant is estimated to be $30.3 million for FY13. Professional Development is estimated at $29.7 million for FY13.

Two funds that will not be used to fund the reforms, despite recent rumors, are the Property Tax Equity Relief fund (PTER) and preschool funds. Governor Branstad had mentioned PTER being a possible source of these funds, but the administration has since moved away from that direction. And the Governor’s office has stated repeatedly that they are not touching preschool funds. A rumor that the Governor intended to cut preschool funding in half was started last week when an LSA produced document was mistaken for a Governor’s office request.

Of the policy that remains in the bill, here are the costs associated with those pieces:

Section 1: Great Teachers and Leaders

  • Iowa Education Job Clearing House (Anticipated Cost: $500,000)
  • Improving Teacher Preparation Program Selectivity and Student Teaching (Anticipated Cost: $0)
  • Alternative Pathways into the Education Profession (Anticipated Cost: $0)
  • Bringing Educator Licensure into the Department of Education (Anticipated Cost: $0)
  • Educator Evaluation (Anticipated Cost: $500,000)
  • Extending Teacher and Administrator Probationary Status to Five Years (Anticipated Costs: $0)
  • Educator Nonrenewal and Dismissal (Anticipated Cost: $0)
  • Ending Seniority-Based Layoffs (Anticipated Cost: $0)
  • School Administration Manager (SAM) Program (Anticipated Cost: $200,000)
  • Strategically Aligning Professional Development (Anticipated Cost: $0)
  • Task Force on Teacher Leadership and Compensation (Anticipated Cost: $100,000 for one year)

Section 2: High Expectations and Fair Measures

  • Continuing and Expanding the Iowa Core (Anticipated Cost: $1,000,000)
  • Kindergarten Readiness Measures (Anticipated Cost: $300,000)
  • High-School End of Course Exams (Anticipated Cost: $2,000,000)
  • Program for International Assessment (PISA) (Anticipated Cost: $1,500,000 every three years)
  • College and Career Readiness Measures (Anticipated Cost: $2,500,000)
  • Value-Added Measures (Anticipated Cost: $1,500,000)
  • Statewide Literacy Program (Anticipated Cost: $10,000,000)
  • Project Lead the Way (Anticipated Cost: $0)

Section 3: Innovation

  • Innovation Acceleration Fund (Anticipated Cost: $2,000,000)
  • Competency-Based Education (Anticipated Cost: $0)
  • Online Learning (Anticipated Cost: $1,800,000 per year for three years)
  • Charter Schools (Anticipated Cost: $500,000)
  • Increased Waiver Authority (Anticipated Cost: $0)
  • Statewide Parent Engagement Network (Anticipated Cost: $500,000)
  • Task Force on Time and Schools (Anticipated Cost: $100,000 for one year)

Details on each individual element of the plan can be found at the Department of Education’s website.