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School superintendent survey results: No increase in state aid will lead to fewer teachers, crowded classes, higher property taxes

A survey of Iowa’s superintendents reveals that more than 80 percent of Iowa’s school districts are considering laying off teachers and other staff, crowding more children into a classroom and raising property taxes.|Iowa Senate News Release:

(DES MOINES) A survey of Iowa’s superintendents reveals that more than 80 percent of Iowa’s school districts are considering laying off teachers and other staff, crowding more children into a classroom and raising property taxes.

School superintendents were asked how their budgets and the quality of their schools would be affected by a House-passed plan that calls for NO increase in basic state aid to education (also known as “allowable growth”) for the next two years.

“The facts are clear. No growth in state aid to local schools would be devastating to local students,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal. “There’s a reason this has never been done before. It is a terrible idea for students, teachers and property taxpayers.”

“With Iowa’s improving economy and budget surplus, we can balance the state budget without freezing funding for our schools and leaving our kids out in the cold. Iowans value world class schools and we should not turn back our progress in education,” said House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Superintendents from 259 of Iowa’s 358 school districts responded to a survey from the chairs of the Iowa Senate’s education budget and education policy committee. The survey presented the following question:
(over)

“Governor Terry Branstad has proposed zero percent allowable growth for the next two years. If the Legislature were to agree with the Governor, which of the following actions would your school district consider?”

Here are the responses in order from most frequent to least frequent.
Consider laying off para-educators or other staff † † † † 88%
Consider laying off teachers and other instructional staff † † † † 84%
Consider increasing class sizes † † † † 84%
Consider raising property taxes † † † † 81%
Consider spending down reserve funds † † † † 80%
Consider reducing the range of academic offerings † † † † 66%
Consider increasing school fees † † † † 64%
Consider reducing extracurricular activities † † † † 59%
Consider increasing activity fees † † † † 57%
Consider laying off administrators † † † † 54%
Consider consolidation or sharing with other districts † † † † 49%
Consider closing buildings † † † † 14%

Complete results are available at www.senate.iowa.gov/democrats

The Iowa Senate Education Committee has approved a two percent increase in basic state aid to local schools. If the Senate’s version is approved by the House and signed by the Governor, the state will provide approximately 60 million additional dollars to local schools during the next school year.

“Budgets reflect priorities. The top priority of Senate Democrats is ensuring opportunities for Iowa children, not supersized tax breaks for out-of-state corporations,” said Gronstal. “The economy and state budget are improving. There is no good reason to approve the worst budget for local schools in almost 40 years.”

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