2016 Legislative Priorities
The following 2016 Legislative Priorities each originated as key priority issues during the July Regional meetings. The Legislative Group worked carefully on this language as submitted to the RSAI members at the annual meeting. The members at the annual meeting approved this slate of priorities on Oct 7, 2015:
- Transportation Equity: Supports a mechanism that covers school transportation costs with state and/or local funding that does not unreasonably disadvantage property tax payers in property poor districts or compete with general funds otherwise spent on providing education to students.
- State Penny for School Infrastructure Extension: RSAI calls on the Iowa Legislature to repeal the sunset of the state penny for school infrastructure.
- Funding and Flexibility for At-risk Students: Resources for serving at-risk students should be based on need, such as the number/percentage of students eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch, rather than enrollment of the district. The current disparity in dropout prevention capacity ceiling, with some districts held to 2.5% and others allowed to access up to 5% of regular program district cost is unfair, arbitrary, and based on old history no longer relevant to supporting student needs. Districts should be given flexibility in determining the expenditure of at-risk resources to support students to graduate college/career ready for success.
- Standards, Assessment and Technology: RSAI supports the Iowa Core Content Standards, including an aligned assessment and supports for the technology and bandwidth required to adequately administer the assessment.
- State Supplemental Assistance 6%: RSAI supports a goal to get Iowa’s investment in education to the national average. Iowa was $1,612 per pupil below the USA average level of expenditure in FY 2014. Funding per pupil for the 2015-16 school year was both too low and too late in the 2015 Session. Funding for the 2016-17 school year must be determined ASAP as the 2016 Session convenes and set at an adequate level, no lower than 6%. Per Iowa law, funding for the 2017-18 school year must be set within 30 days of the Governor’s budget announcement in the 2015 Session although RSAI would support changing the timing mandate to allow the legislature access to the March REC estimate to set the out year per pupil level. RSAI supports a per pupil increase for 2017-18 no lower than 6%.
- Operational Sharing Incentives: Opportunities to achieve efficiencies, share capacity to operate, and redirect resources to educational programs, should be maintained and expanded to provide additional capacity to school districts to improve educational outcomes for students.