The Iowa Senate passed a six-percent increase in funding for K through 12 schools on Wednesday. Since 2011, local school funding in Iowa has suffered compared to other parts of state government. Iowa has fallen to 37th in the nation in terms of per pupil spending. Democratic State Senator Brian Schoenjahn of Arlington is a former teacher who serves as Chair of the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee. He says the six-percent increase would be welcome news for Iowa’s community schools.
What would the increase in funding mean for area schools? According to the Legislative Service Agency, it means West Delaware would receive an estimated 862-thousand dollars in extra funds in Fiscal Year 2016. Starmont’s extra funds would be estimated around 402-thousand dollars, and East Buchanan would likely see over 343-thousand dollars more. Republican Senator David Johnson of Ocheyedan was the only Republican to speak when the issue came up for a vote in the Senate. Johnson says the proposal’s two-hundred-22 million dollar price tag is unsustainable and unwise. The school funding increase still needs to be approved by the Iowa House and signed by Governor Branstad. Republican leaders in the House say they do not intend to consider the Senate Democrats’ spending plan for schools.