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Legislative update from Senator Amanda Ragan

This news story was published on March 24, 2016.
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Amanda Ragan

Amanda Ragan

The House and Senate have agreed to a compromise on school funding for the 2016-17 school year. We fought hard for more than a year for adequate funding for education.

The compromise provides an increase of $145 per pupil over last year, or a total of $6,591 per student. Even with this increase, schools will struggle to boost student achievement and educational opportunities.

Iowa educators warn that inadequate state support means more crowded classes, outdated books and technology, and less help for kids learning to read. This is troubling when Iowa business leaders are telling us they need more skilled workers.

While I am concerned about the long-term impact of short-changing our schools, I hope Governor Branstad will sign SF 174 in a timely manner so that our communities can prepare for the next school year.

As always, the Legislature is working in a bipartisan manner to balance the state budget responsibly. The latest update on Iowa’s financial outlook reaffirms the effectiveness of our careful budget-making strategy, which should allow us to strengthen Iowa’s middle class with strategic investments in education, health care and the economy.

We determine how much to spend by following the revenue estimates of a nonpartisan panel of experts. Based on the panel’s recent projections, we are finalizing the FY17 state budget, which runs from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017.

Under Iowa law, we never budget for more than 99 percent of what the state takes in. Each year, at least 1 percent of the state budget goes into savings accounts, which include a cash reserve fund and an economic emergency fund. This is the money that gets us by in hard times, such as a recession or natural disaster. This year, we expect to end the year with a surplus and full rainy day accounts.

Saturday, April 2nd 10:00-11:30 @ Mason City Public Library Classroom, 225 2nd St. SE, Mason City.

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