Iowa lawmakers send 2.5% school funding increase to governor’s desk

Republican members of the Iowa state Legislature have decided to send Gov. Kim Reynolds, a fellow Republican, a school funding bill that would provide a 2.5 percent increase from the current year’s funding.

The Iowa Senate passed the bill on Monday, which adopted the House version of the bill that was approved last week. 

In the initial version from the Senate, the chamber had proposed a 2.25 percent increase, but the House bill was eventually adopted instead. The bill now heads to Reynolds’ desk, as the governor herself had also proposed a 2.5 percent increase in her budget. The measure is set to increase funding for K-12 from the current $7,227 per pupil to $7,413.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Amy Sinclair, said that the increase in funding for the state’s public school education is sustainable as well as predictable and reliable.

While Democrats in the Legislature had tried to amend the bill in order to increase state aid by 5 percent, which would amount to $300 million, Republicans voted down that particular amendment and instead passed their version on a party-line vote. 

Sen. Jackie Smith, a Democrat from Sioux City, responded to the bill’s advancement, saying, “The Republican school funding bill means Iowa public schools will fall further behind. It means schools can’t hire and retain enough teachers.”

She highlighted the fact that the state ranks 40th in the nation for the increase in expenditures per pupil from 2014 to 2019, and she also noted that the state’s per pupil funding falls below the national average.




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