Legislative Priorities

2021-2022 Legislative Priorities 

At the August 9, 2021, board meeting Dr. Pattee and the Board reviewed the proposed list of Legislative priorities as developed by the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) for the upcoming Iowa Legislative session and approved the following priorities. 

SUPPLEMENTAL STATE AID to include Pre-K funding
Supports setting supplemental state aid:

At a rate that sufficiently supports local districts’ effort to plan, create and sustain world-class schools;

For FY 2022, by January 29, 2022; and
For FY 2023 and future budget years, at least 14 months prior to the certification of the school's district budgets;

Setting supplemental state aid within the statutory requirements allows districts to make sound financial decisions on programs, staffing levels, in order to provide the best possible education to all students.

IASB supports a formula driven method for establishing the supplemental state aid growth rate if it is not set within the statutory requirements.

Supports allowing school bond issues to be passed by a simple majority vote.

Supports the authority to levy a combination of property taxes and income surtaxes to pay the indebtedness.

Supports legislation to clarify that revenue bonds do not count toward a 5% statutory debt limit.

Supports providing local school boards with decision-making authority regarding methods to accomplish desired educational outcomes. IASB opposes overly restrictive or inefficient limitations which inhibit innovation, efficiency, and the ability of school boards to meet local needs. Local accountability and decision-making includes:
-Student Achievement: As locally elected officials, school boards should have the ability to set priorities, customize programming, and maximize community strengths to improve outcomes for all students;
-Accountability & Reporting: Data collection for state accountability should enhance the ability of school boards to focus on student learning and school improvement. IASB supports streamlining state-level reporting on management operations and eliminating duplicative or inefficient reporting processes;
-Funding flexibility: School boards should have the ability to maximize existing resources to meet local needs;
-Transparency: School boards should have flexibility to provide public access to records in ways that promote transparency for citizens while balancing the cost to taxpayers; and

With Board focus on: Flexibility on Health and Safety Emergencies: School boards should have the ability to make decisions in partnership with local officials, regarding local health and safety needs of the students, staff, families, and community.

Supports providing the flexibility to expand educational opportunities and choices for students and families. Educational options must remain under the sole authority of locally elected school boards charged with representing community Interests and accountability. IASB supports efforts including:
-Investment in magnet and innovation schools; expansion in flexible program offerings; and greater partnerships among schools and community organizations;
-Establishment of charter schools under the direction of the locally elected public school board; and

With Board focus on: Establishment or use of online schools or classes while maintaining per pupil funding.

Supports continued progress in the development of rigorous content standards and benchmarks that reflect the real-world knowledge and skills students need to graduate from high school prepared for college or to enter the workforce, including the following state actions:
-Provide and fund technical assistance to help school districts fully implement the Iowa Core Content Standards which define what students should know and be able to do in math, science, literacy, social studies, and 21st Century skills in areas such as financial and technological literacy;
-Continue to improve the implementation of the statewide assessment to ensure alignment to the Iowa Core Content standards and provide the necessary funding and technological capacity for every student to successfully complete the assessment;
-Support research-based professional development that provides educators with training, support and time to work together so that they can successfully teach a rigorous curriculum to all students. Ensure that curriculum decisions about how to teach remain in the hands of local schools and teachers; and
-Include and fund all the components of successful standards systems: assessments aligned to high expectations, improved and aligned instruction and quality professional development.

IASB supports development of model content standards, recommended assessments and professional development supports in additional content areas but opposes expanding accountability, reporting and accreditation requirements in these areas.

Supports efforts to establish comprehensive community mental health systems to offer preventative and treatment services and comprehensive school mental health programs that include:
Increased access for in-school and telehealth services;
-Increased access to mental health professionals via in-person or telehealth visits;
-Creation of a categorical funding stream designated for mental health professionals serving students and ongoing teacher, administrator, and support staff mental health training;
-Equitable reimbursement by Medicaid and private insurers for In-school services;
-Ongoing teacher, administrator, and support staff training to improve the awareness and understanding of child emotional and mental health needs;
-Integration of suicide prevention and coping skills into existing curriculum;
-Expanding state-funded loan forgiveness programs to include mental health professionals who agree to provide services to schools;
-An ongoing mental health resources clearinghouse for schools and community providers; and
-Trainings that include a referral plan for continuing action provided by mental health professionals outside of the school district.