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School board association offers solutions to resolve schools’ high costs, unequal expenses

educationDES MOINES – The Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) offered two proposals to legislators today to resolve some inequities in school funding. Iowa’s funding policy has disadvantaged students for more than 40 years with high transportation costs and unequal district spending per student.

Transportation costs compete with general education funds and vary significantly across districts. The transportation equity proposal would cost $30 million per year phased-in over five years and help provide more funds for classroom instruction.

“Depending on their size and other variables, some school districts spend more on transportation costs than others. The schools that spend more on gas and buses just to get their kids to the door have less to spend inside the classroom,” said IASB Finance Support Director Shawn Snyder.

IASB also proposed a plan to equalize spending for all students by providing resources to the districts with funding disparities, resulting in equal funding for all districts.

“In 1971, the legislature set a single cost per student based on enrollment and expenditures. The problem is that this amount doesn’t match every district, which results in a $175 gap per student,” said Snyder.

The cost to implement this solution would range between $8-11 million per year for nine years.

IASB is a private, nonprofit organization representing Iowa’s 336 school districts, nine area education agencies and 15 community colleges.

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