Investing in Education

by Senator Jack Whitver

Our students’ education is definitely a priority at the Statehouse. Funding that priority always comes with a significant financial responsibility. Numerous times since 2000, the legislature overpromised and failed to deliver on its financial obligations to K-12 education. I am pleased we are allocating a sustainable investment to Iowa K-12 education of an additional $89.3 million in Fiscal Year 2020.

This $89.3 million in new money includes an increase of $78.6 million in supplemental state aid, an additional $2.9 million allocated for the state per pupil funds, and a $7.8 million increase to help offset transportation inequities to school districts.

Further illustrating K-12 education is a priority at the Statehouse, since 2011, the legislature has increased funding to Iowa’s K-12 schools by nearly $845 million. When you look at overall federal, state, and local money that goes to K-12 education, the annual investment is $7.1 billion this translates to $14,600 per student. This is a sound investment into our children’s education.

Our education funding bills will be two of the first pieces of legislation we consider this session. We honored our 30-day deadline, which helps school district establish their operating budgets.

Iowans have a lot of reasons to be proud of our education system – we rank number one in the U.S. in both high school graduation rates and in concurrent enrollment (dual enrollment in high school and community college classes). Timely, sustainable funding plays an important role in maintaining and improving education excellence in Iowa.