Capital Clicks

Iowa Republicans settle on education funding lower than governor’s proposal

By: - March 3, 2020 12:58 pm

(Photo by Getty Images)

Republican leaders in the Iowa House and Senate have reached an agreement to meet in the middle and increase per-pupil funding for Iowa schools by 2.3%. That’s about $10 million less than Gov. Kim Reynolds pitched at the beginning of the 2020 session.

About $85.57 million of new money will go to Iowa schools through supplemental state aid — a funding resource schools rely on to pay for everything from salary increases to class programming.

Combined with funding that equalizes transportation costs and per-pupil spending, Republicans said the total package for schools is around $99 million.

Initially, the Iowa House proposed increasing supplemental state aid for K-12 schools by 2.5% to keep in line with the governor’s proposal of adding $95 million. Senate Republicans proposed a 2.1% increase, adding $76 million.

Democrats pushed for a 3% increase in both chambers, arguing school districts have been underfunded for years, resulting in cuts to staff and resources.

Some Iowa school districts said even Reynolds’ recommendation was too modest to properly fund their districts. Officials from the Des Moines school district said they planned on cutting nearly $20 million this next fiscal year based off the 2.5% projection.

The Iowa Senate will debate education funding on Wednesday and the House debate will follow at a different time. Both bills are expected to pass through their chambers.

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