According to an Iowa GOP newsletter:
Democrat’s Statements on School Funding Misleading (3-1-15 Des Moines Register)
“Democrats in the Iowa Legislature say a Republican plan to increase state aid for K-12 schools by 1.25 percent is insuffi- cient because Iowa already underfunds schools on a per-student basis. They say the state will drop from 35th in per-pupil spending to 40th under the Republican plan.
We rate these statements MISLEADING.
The Democratic assertions are based on data from one partisan source and flimsy projections from another. Data from the U.S. Census and the nonpartisan Annie E. Casey Foundation, meanwhile, show different — and more positive — assess- ments of Iowa’s education funding rela- tive to other states.”
“The spending disparity and ranking cited by the lawmakers come from data com- piled by the National Education Associa- tion, which is the leading teachers union and a major supporter of the Democratic Party.”
Legislative Democrats are not focused on student achievement or learning. They are focused on education spend- ing. There is a difference and the facts clearly support that the Democrats top goal is increasing spending, not improving student achievement. There is no link between setting the supplemental state aid figure and rising student achievement. There is, however, a link between spending more than the state collects and forcing across the board cuts after the fact. House Republicans are not going to spend more than the state collects.
The House position continues the legisla- ture’s trend of providing significant in- creases to the state’s K-12 system, bringing the 5 year total increase to over $570 million, a nearly 22% increase.
According to the Department of Educa- tion’s Allocation Summary documents, Iowa will spend $10,231 per student in FY 15. That means in classroom of 20, Iowa spends just over $200,000.
Current revenue collections are trailing the December estimate. Actual returns are lagging behind the REC projection. If revenue continues to come in below ex- pectations, the March revenue estimate (due March 19) may require that the 1.25% SSA already approved by the House to be revised downward.
Spending more taxpayer money above the 1.25% level requires real reductions in oth- er areas of the state budget like Medicaid or it requires an immediate tax increase. During debate in January on the SSA bill, House Democrats suggested raising busi- ness taxes and using money originally tar- geted for debt reduction to increase spend- ing on education.
Senate Democrats have taken the position that the Legislature needs to enact a 4% increase now, regardless of the current state revenue numbers, and then figure out how to fund it later. These are same flawed practices former Gov. Culver used to get the state into a huge financial mess during his only term in office.