BUDGET BATTLE: School Funding Face Off

Local schools could cut teachers jobs or programs if state lawmakers don’t agree on funding soon. State law requires that allowable growth, which is the increase in state funding that districts could see, be set within the first 30-days of the legislative session.

In this case democrats are pushing for a 4-percent increase. But even though Governor Branstad signed that requirement into law, he’s urging legislators to let the deadline pass and focus on education reform instead.

“Here’s what I find peculiar is that Governor Branstad signed the allowable growth restriction in 1995 to make sure that we would do this in a certain number of days so that the school districts wouldn’t be left hanging.” says Senator Liz Mathis (D) Marion.

Iowa school districts are required to have their budgets certified by April 15th.

Districts like Southeast Polk have a $100 million annual budget, with 70-percent of that coming from the state.  Superintendant Craig Menozzi says he can’t plan his budget until he knows how much state aid his district will get.  And he worries, no increase, could mean more taxes and fewer teachers.

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