Wednesday, January 13, 2016

We Are Going to Need a Little Help Here

According to a U.S. News and World report, education funding hasn't recovered from what has been dubbed 'The Great Recession'. In Iowa when adjusting for inflation, education funding has grown a mere .04% since 2008. I know what some will say, "We are better off that a lot of states. Many have it far worse than Iowa-they have had their funding slashed."

While that is an argument that can be made, I certainly don't think a .04% increase is something that we should be bragging about or making a 'Yeah but,' comment. That is less than a percent folks, in an eight year period nonetheless, and our budget grew more than that by just turning on the lights. Argument that schools, and in particular Hudson, are inefficient and need to 'tighten their belts' just doesn't pass muster. Consider this, we cut roughly $577,000 in expenditures in 2011 and even when you extrapolate that out our budget has still grown in excess of .04% since 2008. 
Back in August I outlined four important and crucial issues where advocacy will be important. Now that the General Assembly is once again in session, I think its necessary to revisit those issues and remember that none is more important than adequate and timely supplemental state aid. To remind everyone, by law, supplemental state aid is to be settled within 30 days of the governor releasing his budget. By the way, the supplemental aid that we are talking about is for the fiscal year that is scheduled to begin on July 1, 2017. It would indeed be wonderful if we were talking about that, but we still haven't decided on supplemental state aid for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2016--so the legislature is already in violation of state law. 

To take a brief trip down memory lane, supplemental state aid for the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2015 wasn't resolved until July 3, 2015 when Governor Branstad vetoed $55 Million--a loss of approximately $70,000 for Hudson schools. 

So here we are. Once again, it's showtime. Yesterday the governor presented his Condition of the State address and outlined his spending plan for next year. That started the 30 day clock ticking. Unfortunately I am not at all optimistic the issue will be resolved in the legally prescribed time frame. Now, our legislators are expecting to hear from guys like me (school superintendents) and, while they are usually polite those conversations are not all that impactful. If school funding is important to you, I would encourage you to please contact your legislator and let them know that not only do we need timely state supplemental aid set, bet we also need adequate supplemental state aid set. You can find your legislator right here.

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