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Des Moines Parents and Community Sit Down With Legislators to Talk Education

DES MOINES, Iowa – Des Moines Public Schools' Community Legislative Action Team will hold its first event prior to the 2019 session of the Iowa General Assembly this weekend.

The event allows DMPS parents and community members to sit down with legislators and voice opinions on what you want to see change in the schools.

Des Moines School Board member and Chair of CLAT Heather Anderson said, “I think it’s building those relationships. It’s learning more and it might take a few years, but hopefully we will see the change that we need for our students to be successful.”

Anderson said the team is focusing on the following district priorities for this legislative session:

Expand support for our English language learners (ELL):

  • 22 percent of students in DMPS are ELL.
  • Asking to increase funding to 0.39 to improve the program and help students be successful in their education setting

Expand Preschool funding for children in poverty:

  • Recommending an increase in funding in the Statewide Volunteer Preschool Program (SWVPP)
  • One in six Iowa children liver in poverty and one in five is food insecure
  • Early education establishes a solid foundation for children to excel in school

Save Penny Sales Tax:

  • Funds construction project for schools across the state
  • DMPS buildings on average are 65 years and older, so updating is necessary
  • Tax will expire in 2029 if not reinstated

Revise at-risk and dropout prevention funding:

  • Looking to change the pupil funding allocation based on need
  • Recognize at-risk student challenges and provide additional support

Des Moines Parent Deb Copeland said one of the most important issues she wants lawmakers is to understand the need for the penny sales tax.

“In the Des Moines School district there alone, because we are so large, there are construction projects that are planned out in the next five years, the next ten years, and if schools don’t know where their funding is coming from or if they are getting that funding, then it takes away the ability to plan,” Copeland said.

There will be 10 legislators at the first event Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at Hubbell Elementary.

Additional events are as follows:

  • Saturday February 9th – 9:00 a.m. at North High School
  • Saturday March 9th – 9:00 a.m. at East High School
  • Saturday April 13th – 9:00 a.m. at Lincoln High School