Thursday, January 27, 2011

ISEA HOTLINE 1/27/2010

"Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it,
I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in."                                                                                                                            --Abraham Lincoln

Allowable Growth = Cost of Living Adjustment

The Governor and House Republicans have proposed 0 percent Allowable Growth for Iowa’s public schools. In practical terms this means public schools will not see any cost of living adjustments to their budgets for the first time in 30 years. While schools will receive money for the current per-pupil spending, the money will not be adjusted for 2011 inflationary increases. Every Legislature for 30 years has recognized the folly of this type of budgeting. Everyone knows you can’t purchase a gallon of milk with the same dollar you used to purchase it with last year, so why would our Governor and Republican legislators expect schools to meet their rising fuel, utility, textbook, computer, and other costs with non-inflationary adjusted budgets? It doesn’t make sense.
Making matters worse, the House Republicans are proposing to cut corporate property taxes throughout the state in the amount of almost $48 million. This is the equivalent of a 1.5 percent Allowable Growth rate. This literally means the state is giving corporations money which should be given to our students and public schools. Our schools will be expected to be world class and do the same amount with less money. It doesn’t make sense.

Contact the Governor and your Legislator on the House Education Committee and ask them:

1) 0 percent Allowable Growth means that only our kids suffer. It means fewer course offerings, larger class sizes, fewer supplies, less Support Services, and our best and brightest teachers will simply move to another profession.

2) Why would you put corporations ahead of our kids?

These are the members of the House Education Committee:
•Greg Forristall (R, District 98), Chair
•Jeremy Taylor (R, District 1), Vice Chair
•Nathan Willems (D, District 29), Ranking Member
•Ako Abdul-Samad (D, District 66)
•Josh Byrnes (R, District 14)
•Royd E. Chambers (R, District 5)
•Dennis M. Cohoon (D, District 88)
•Peter Cownie (R, District 60)
•Cecil Dolecheck (R, District 96)
•Ruth Ann Gaines (D, District 65)
•Curt Hanson (D, District 90)
•Mary Ann Hanusa (R, District 99)
•Ron Jorgensen (R, District 54)
•Dan Kelley (D, District 41)
•Kevin Koester (R, District 70)
•Mark Lofgren (R, District 80)
•Mary Mascher (D, District 77)
•Linda J. Miller (R, District 82)
•Kim Pearson (R, District 42)
•Renee Schulte (R, District 37)
•Sharon S. Steckman (D, District 13)
•Annette Sweeney (R, District 44)
•Cindy Winckler (D, District 86)

House File 1 – Ugly amendment seeks to open union contracts

Unbelievably, House Republicans on the State Government Committee have passed an amendment to HF 1 requiring ALL teaching contracts to be reopened if there is an across-the-board cut. The amendment will be eligible for debate on the House floor by next week.

Contact your Legislator today and tell them:

1) how incredibly irresponsible this amendment is. Iowa has finally gotten education professionals to 26th in the nation on average teacher pay and we are on course to attract and retain the best and brightest in the profession. This type of amendment would set us back at least a decade.

2) Iowans are fair-minded people. A deal is a deal. A contract between education professionals and their school district is a deal. You don’t reopen a contract because the Legislature cannot responsibly handle the state’s checkbook.
Statewide Universal Preschool, Iowa Core Curriculum, and AEAs still on the hot seat

HF 45 contains major components which will be extremely harmful to the quality of public education in Iowa. Specifically, the bill eliminates the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program (SVPP) for four-year-olds, eliminates funding for the implementation of the statewide Iowa Core Curriculum, reduces Area Education Agency (AEA) budgets for fiscal year 2010-2011 and subsequent fiscal years by $10 million, and creates a mandatory tax relief fund that diverts surplus monies from education.

Contact your Legislator and let them know:

1) Legislators heard loud and clear from you that Statewide Voluntary Preschool promotes quality and excellence. Now they need to hear that cutting this (free for only 10 hours per week) program will drastically affect access in communities all across the state. We went from 19 percent enrollment to 60 percent enrollment in just under 4 years. We will fall drastically behind again if Legislators drop this top-quality program and communities lose availability. Contact your Legislator now and let them know that your community should have the same access to preschool as your neighbors.

Congratulations to Iowa’s Community Colleges!
Senate Resolution 1 and House Resolution 5 recognize today, January 27, 2011, as a day to honor the 15 community colleges in Iowa on the 45th anniversary of their founding.

There are Legislative Forums scheduled beginning tomorrow (Friday) and going through the weekend. Please try to attend a forum in your area to ask your Legislator these important questions. Bring your Hotline with you so you have your questions handy and don’t forget to report back to us to let us know how your forum went.