Capitol Update Week 10

Iowa is an All★Vet State—Greene County first Home Base Community

This week, the Governor’s office announced Iowa is among three states to be designated an All★Vet State by Hiring Our Heroes, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The All★Vet States initiative was created to highlight opportunities, services, and support being offered by states to attract and hire transitioning service members and military spouses. Michigan and Tennessee also received the All★Vet State designation.

In addition to this new designation, last week Greene County was designated the state’s first Home Base Iowa Community. Home Base Iowa is the new private-public partnership aimed at making Iowa the top state for job-seeking veterans. Greene County was named in honor of Revolutionary War hero – General Nathanael Greene.

Greene County and the city of Jefferson have created an incentive package for veterans considering a move to the area, which includes the following:

  • Banks are eliminating closing costs for veterans applying for VA loan financing
  • Businesses are offering a $2,000 relocation support package
  • A central housing site has been established on the Chamber of Commerce website
  • A 100 percent three-year property tax abatement is offered for veterans’ families who purchase homes in the area
  • An online pre-application job form that allows veterans to apply for many jobs simultaneously

For more information about Home Base Iowa and how to support and engage veterans, please visit: http://www.homebaseiowa.org or contact 855-9HB-IOWA (855-942-4692).

Iowa’s high school graduation rate increases for class of 2013

A report issued by the Department of Education last week shows that for the third year consecutive year, the state’s graduation rate has increased while at the same time, fewer students were dropping out of high school in Iowa.

Graduation rates for the class of 2013 increased for all but one subgroup of students. Of particular note are significant increases among students whose first language is not English (1.82 percent), Hispanic students (2.02 percent), and Native Americans (10.5 percent).

The statewide graduation rate is 89.68 percent, marking a three-year trend. That’s an increase from 89.26 percent in 2012, and 88.32 percent in 2011.

Four-year graduation rate Annual dropout rate 9-12
  All Students   All Students
Class of 2013 89.68%    
Class of 2012 89.26% 2012-13 2.82%
Class of 2011 88.32% 2011-12 3.20%
Class of 2010 88.80% 2010-11 3.38%
Diff. 2012-2013 0.42% Diff. 2012-2013 -0.37%

Four-year graduation rate

Though current federal rankings are not yet available, Iowa has consistently landed at or near the top of national rankings for four-year graduation rates. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2013 increased from the previous year in 170 school districts (54 percent) out of the 316 Iowa districts that had high schools. Thirteen school districts (4 percent) saw no change in their graduation rates from the year before, while 133 districts (42 percent) saw a decrease.

Annual dropout rate

Iowa’s annual dropout rate decreased in the 2012-13 school year from the year before. The 2012-13 dropout rate was 2.82 percent, a decrease of 0.37 percent from the 2011-12 dropout rate of 3.20 percent.

 

The rate reflects the percentage of students in grades 9-12 who drop out of school during a single year. The state’s 2012-13 dropout rate represents 4,108 students.

Further information

Iowa Public High School, Class of 2013, 4 Year Graduation Data by District and Subgroup

https://www.educateiowa.gov/documents/graduates/2014/03/iowa-public-high-school-class-2013-4-year-graduation-data-district-and

Class of 2013 Four Year and Class of 2012 Five Year Graduation Rates and 2012-2013 Dropout Rates by District

https://www.educateiowa.gov/documents/graduates/2014/03/class-2013-four-year-and-class-2012-five-year-graduation-rates-and-2012

Child Care Assistance Passes House

Child Care Assistance (CCA) is a statewide subsidy program that helps pay for the care of a child while their parent works or goes to school. CCA is available to the children of eligible parents with income at or below 145 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The parent also has to be absent for a portion of the day due to work or school up to an average of 28 hours a week.

Eligibility for child care assistance occurs in six month periods. If income, employment, or academic conditions change at any point and the parent does not meet the CCA eligibility requirements, the parents are required to notify the DHS.

Currently, people can receive child care assistance if they go to school or work for 28 hours a week, but they cannot receive child care assistance if they both work and go to school for a combination of 28 hours per week. This is a challenge for many parents that would like to work while going to school so they can find better jobs. To help encourage this change, the House passed a bill that would change this requirement in four counties through a pilot program. In these counties, parents will be able to receive child care assistance if they go to work and school for an aggregate of 28 hours per week in fiscal year 2015.

The cost to implement a statewide shift in child care assistance is very hard to predict. Reliable information is important to correctly improve this program and prevent underfunding issues in the future. It is the intent of the House Health and Human Services Budget Chair to pursue a statewide expansion of this initiative next session.

Week 10 Recap

Maquoketa Valley seniors visited the Capitol on Tuesday. The group traveled to Des Moines for a government class. They received a tour of the Capitol and the House Chamber. I enjoy visiting with students and answering their questions. I wish more people had the opportunity to come see our beautiful Capitol building.

Maquoketa Valley Government Students & I in the House Chamber

Maquoketa Valley Government Students & In the    House Chamber

 

I got to meet University of Iowa student William Collier this week. William is originally from Newton, Massachusetts. He is studying environmental science at UI. He job shadowed me Tuesday afternoon. William is with other University of Iowa Students here during spring break to shadow legislators and learn more about government. I’m pleased William chose Iowa for his college education. It is great to see college students interested in our environment. He is excited to work to preserve resources and keep our planet clean.

On Wednesday Jon Zirkelbach and his wife Tracy visited the Statehouse with the Jones County Farm Bureau. John was the winning bidder on the flag and Capitol tour I donated to the Monticello School Foundation. Thanks to Jon and Tracy for their generous donation. I brought Jon and his group in to see the House chamber. I got to spend time with them talking about issues and bills going through the House.

Bruce Knipper, Mike Recker, and Bruce Nieman from the Delaware County Farm Bureau also were at the capital on Wednesday. We had a nice visit about issues concerning Delaware county and the Farm Bureau.

Delaware County Farm Bureau members Bruce Knipper, Mike Recker, and Bruce Nieman

Delaware County Farm Bureau members Bruce Knipper, Mike Recker, and Bruce Nieman

Wednesday evening we met with Cedar Rapids City officials. While it is not in my district, I got to discuss a traffic issue with Cedar Rapids’ City Engineer Dave Elgin. The intersection of 6th St. SE and 12th Ave. SE is on the truck route to Cargill’s corn plant.   I explained to Mr. Elgin that with the new construction and added traffic in the area it has made it very difficult for grain trucks to get through that intersection. He promised to look into the situation. My goal was to make it safer for the truckers who travel to Cedar Rapids and Cargill corn plant.

We had a lot of debate throughout the week. Most bills were technical corrections or simple changes. Everything we voted on passed the House with bipartisan support. We will work in the coming weeks on sorting out the details for the budget and the remaining bills on the calendar.

Friday the 21st I will be at the Jones County Farm Bureau forum from 10am to noon. It is at Java Jones in Monticello. I hope to see you there.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about these topics or any others please feel free to contact me by e-mail at lee.hein@legis.iowa.gov or by phone at (515) 281-7330.

Sincerely,

Rep. Lee Hein

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