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House rolls out education funding increase plan

DES MOINES –The House released their plan for increasing state funding to local schools and state aid, and will rise again under the leadership of the House. The House plan provides an additional $107.75 million in new funding for the 2020-21 school year.  For supplemental state aid, the House plan provides a 2.5% increase next year. This increases state funding by $94.7 million, raising the state aid appropriation to $3.386 billion in FY 2021. The bill providing this increase is House Study Bill 587 in the House Education Committee. Additionally, the House will continue to build upon the promise to help rural schools with additional funding for transportation needs. 

The goal has been to make sure that school districts’ contributions to these costs do not exceed the statewide average for transportation costs. With this year’s House plan, that goal is met. In the 2020-2021 school year, the state will contribute $26.25 million towards school transportation costs. This amounts to a $7.25 million increase in the state’s share. 204 school districts are projected to receive these funds.

This effort has resulted in widespread support from school administrators. Last fall, a lobbyist for the Iowa Association of School Boards, told the Cedar Rapids Gazette, “This is really making a difference in how much (districts) can budget and how much money they can put into the classroom.”

Ensuring funding equity for every public school student is another focus of the House proposal. Beginning in 2018, the state started raising the minimum per student funding level in order to close the $175 per student gap between school districts. The House plan calls for adding an additional $10 this year to the per student funding level. This will impact 195 schools throughout the state.

Both the school transportation costs and the per pupil equity funding are in House Study Bill 594 in the House Appropriations Committee.

Overall, the House school funding plan means state funding to Iowa schools has risen $968.1 million since Fiscal Year 2011. That amounts to an increase of almost 40 percent over the decade, a commitment that shows Iowans that the House has kept K-12 education as a central priority. K-12 funding has protected from any reductions during revenue downswings. 

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