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School Board Meets with Senator

Iowa Senator Charles Schneider

Senator Charles Schneider (Photo source: www.legis.iowa.gov)

During a workshop held Oct. 26, the School Board met with Iowa Senator Charles Schneider (R – District 22) to discuss education funding and legislation. Each legislator representing the district was invited to attend the meeting. Schneider said he understands funding is top priority for education, but also acknowledged that state revenue may not increase as expected based on current estimates. The Board shared its legislative priorities, which are available at http://bit.ly/WDMCSlegislativepriorities16.

Topics: Budget, School Board News

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Board Approves Budget, Calls for State Funding

On Monday, April 13, the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education approved its preliminary budget at $150 million, maintaining the district’s property tax rate at $13.27 per $1,000 valuation. According to state law, school districts must adopt a budget for the upcoming school year by April 15.

The approved budget may need to be adjusted because the state legislature has not determined how much funding it will provide schools.

Under Iowa law, the legislature was to approve school funding – called Supplement State Aid – for the 2015-16 school year during last year’s legislative session. This was not completed. There will be no increase in state funding for education if the legislature fails to take action. As of last week, the Governor and House were supportive of 1.25 percent for fiscal year 2015-16, while the Senate originally passed 6 percent, then 4 percent, and most recently proposed 2.625 percent. The legislature remained at an impasse last week.

The School Board passed a resolution Monday night encouraging the Governor’s Office to break the impasse and set state aid at no less than 2.624% for 2015-16 and no less than 6 percent for 2016-17.

The resolutions states, “At the supplemental state aid rate of 1.25 percent, Iowa will drop to more than $1,600 per student below the national per student funding average. The past 10 years of state aid have not allowed schools to keep up with the cost of living, collective bargaining settlements, utilities, IPERS contributions, school improvement efforts, and other program initiatives that would benefit students, etc. The March 19, 2015 Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) set the 2015 revenue estimate at a 4.3 percent growth rate and set the FY 2016 estimate at 6.0 percent. With this above average revenue growth, it is time to properly fund public schools. Legislative action delayed beyond statutory requirements creates economic inefficiencies by compressing the district’s work load into a very short window of time in order for the district to meet its Chapter 20 contractual obligation dates. This cost is borne by all local property tax payers.”

The full resolution is available at: http://bit.ly/1ysyOyd.

Topics: Budget, School Board News

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