DES MOINES – Senate Democratic leaders today unveiled plans for a 4 percent increase in basic state aid to Iowa’s local schools for the 2013-14 school year.
“I’ve talked with local parents, teachers, and school administrators,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs. “They tell me Iowa schools are increasingly choosing between providing a quality education or just providing the bare minimum. That’s an outrage. It’s time for the state of Iowa to step up and do the right thing for Iowa’s students.”
Senate President Pam Jochum of Dubuque said the increase in basic state aid – also known as allowable growth — is the first step in the Democratic agenda to expand Iowa’s middle class.
“The state’s reserve and rainy day funds are overflowing. After several years of tight budgets, it is simply not true that the state can’t do more to help pay for basic school needs like textbooks, heating classrooms, and paying salaries,” Jochum said. “We can do more for education and we can do it without increasing property taxes.”
Under the Democratic plan, the 4 percent increase in basic aid to schools would NOT increase local property taxes, thanks to an additional $38.5 million state appropriation. The additional funding would also help taxpayers in school districts with lower than average property values.