Capitol Update Week Two

Stability and Growth in Education Funding

From 2002 to 2012, education funding in Iowa was a tumultuous period. This is evidenced by numerous across the board cuts – which affected education and every other area of the budget – and moves by the legislature to underfund the state’s responsibility in the school funding formula. Over that decade it happened no less than 6 times with the capstone being the 2010 10% across-the-board cut.

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this graph is worth $530 million dollars.

The result of increasing state spending to unsustainable levels and spending one-time money for ongoing expenses mixed with an economic collapse caused education funding in this state to take a $530 million loss in one single year. The state is still trying to recover from that loss. This is an example that the House looks to as we form our budgeting principles.

It was on this foundation that House and Governor Branstad begin their work in 2011 of stabilizing not only education funding but the entire budget, while at the same time providing unprecedented growth to school funding.

Over $450 million new state dollars have been appropriated to Iowa’s schools since Republicans gained control of the House and the Governor’s office. Some of these years have seen more growth than at any point in Iowa’s history.

The Funding is just part of the picture

In addition to providing unprecedented growth in the school funding formula, the legislature also passed a bipartisan education reform package two years in a row. 2013’s education reform bill, House File 215, was where the real change happened.

On top of the $450 million new dollars provided to schools over the past 4 years, HF 215 appropriated an additional $150 million ($50 million incrementally over 3 years) and created a new teacher leadership and compensation system that will fundamentally change how teachers cooperate and grow in their profession.

This isn’t just money into the system for the sake of more money. It’s potentially revolutionary change in a system that doesn’t change often. The new TLC program went live this year in 39 school districts with the goal of being statewide in 2 more years, making Iowa the first state in the nation to provide a state-wide teacher leadership system and adequately fund it for success. States around the country

will be watching Iowa and following our lead into a new support system for teachers that will do much for student success in the future.

Here’s the resulting picture of the House efforts over the past 5 years:

Budget Year School Year   Growth Percentage State Aid Increase
FY 2012 11/12 0% Allowable Growth * $178 million
FY 2013 12/13 2% Supplemental State Aid (SSA) $30 million
FY 2014 13/14 2% SSA + 2% one-time payment $65 million + $57 million
FY 2015 14/15 4% Supplemental State Aid $148 million
    Total $421 million + $57 million

(* 0% growth was a $178 million increase in state funds because the school aid formula had been purposely underfunded by over $156 million the previous year by the legislature)

The big picture

We are all products of this state’s education system, through Iowa’s public elementary schools, private schools, home school families, community colleges, private colleges, and the state universities.   The state spends nearly 60% of its dollars on education in this state proving that education is our top priority.

Week Two Recap

Every morning the House is led in prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. The prayer is led by a pastor from around the state, who is invited by a Representative. The Pledge is led by a high school aged page in the House. There are still some days available this session for a pastor to lead prayer. If you know any clergy from the area that would like to come, please send me an email. We can see if your schedule will work with any of the open days. I’d love to host someone from the district to offer the morning prayer. The House is in session Monday through Thursday until May 1st.

I will be attending the following forums. All are open to the public:

Friday 1/23/15- Jones Co. Economic Development forum at Anamosa City Hall at 12 pm;

Friday 2/6/15- Delaware Co. Farm Bureau forum at the Delaware Co. Farm Bureau office in Manchester at 10 am;

Friday 2/20/15- Jones Co. Economic Development forum at the Lawrence Community Center in Anamosa at 12 pm;

Friday 3/13/15- Delaware Co. Farm Bureau forum at the Delaware Co. Farm Bureau office in Manchester at 10 am

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.state.ia.us or by phone at (515) 281-7330. Sincerely,

Rep. Lee Hein

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