2021 Legislative Priorities

(As approved by attendees of the RSAI Annual Meeting on October 21, 2020, 

and the RSAI Leadership Group on November 11, 2020)

Printable versions: 2021 "Full" Legislative Priorities, 2021 "One-Page" Legislative Priorities

Adequate School Resources: the increase in SSA should be no lower than anticipated growth in state revenue, not lower than 3.75% in FY 2022 due to abundant FY 2020 state surplus, maintain balanced state and local resources, be predictable, and assure adequate time for budget planning and staffing. Download the Adequate School Resources Position Paper

Assessing and Addressing Staff/Student Social, Emotional and Behavioral Health: access to funded mental health services for children and supports for staff. Address the shortage of mental health professionals and provide resources over the next two years for local districts to train school staff based on a local needs and community capacity to collaborate for a collective solution. Download the Social, Emotional and Behavioral Health Position Paper

Educator Shortage and Quality Instruction: maximum flexibility to hire staff to provide great instruction, including several strategies to attract and retain quality staff; flexibility to meet offer and teach requirements, loan forgiveness programs, a special education generalist credential, creation of a Public Service CTE strand, hire retirees without IPERS impact, and elimination of barriers to licensure. Download the Educator Shortage and Quality Instruction Position Paper

Formula and Transportation Equity: formula equity, closing the state and district per pupil gap within ten years and continued transportation equity support without burdensome reporting requirements. Download the Formula Equity Position Paper and Download the Transportation Equity Position Paper

Opportunity Equity: resources based on at-risk need, in addition to enrollment. All school boards should have 5% dropout prevention funding. School districts should be granted spending authority for FRPL waived fees and Iowa should study the impact of poverty on educational outcomes. Download the Opportunity Equity Position Paper

Sharing Incentives and Efficiencies: extension of Whole Grade Sharing, Reorganization and Operational Sharing Incentives. The 21-student cap should expand to allow access to any new flexibility. Download the Sharing Incentives and Efficiencies Position Paper 

Quality Preschool: funding of quality PK at the 1.0 per pupil cost and formula protections against budget and program impacts of PK enrollment swings (budget guarantee/on-time spending authority). Download the Quality Preschool Position Paper

School Safety: school safety investments, including additional funding for security personnel and training to protect against emergency situations. Download the School Safety Position Paper

Bonding Capacity: a simple majority, 50% plus 1, voter approval for school bond issues and calculation of debt limit excluding debt backed by the SAVE.

Internet Connectivity and Access: expanded access to high-speed Internet for all Iowans including incentives, investments, and creative solutions to close the technology gap for students, businesses and community members in rural Iowa. Low income should not be a barrier to internet access.  

Remote Learning and Instructional Time: local authority to determine when school should close, for emergency situations/safety, counting instructional time toward minimum instructional days or hours as long as engagement in virtual learning is required and needs of all students are anticipated and met.

 Local School Board Authority: locally elected leaders closest to the community are in the best position to determine the interest of students, staff and stakeholders. District leaders need maximum flexibility to provide a great education to all students. The Legislature, the Executive Branch and the courts should follow Iowa Code 274.3 and liberally construe statute to effectuate local control. 


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2021 Legislative Session