Friday, February 4, 2011


Legislators continue the process of setting allowable growth for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013

The Iowa House Education Committee has set allowable growth at 0 percent; the Iowa Senate Education Committee is on track to set allowable growth at 2 percent. The ISEA believes allowable growth should be set at 4 percent for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

Republican legislators in the House are content to leave our kids with nothing while at the same time providing $200 million in tax breaks for wealthy corporations. Never before have our schools seen zero growth. The Republican plan will raise property taxes by $70 million, increase class sizes, and make it more difficult for rural schools to avoid consolidation, according to Nate Willems, the ranking member of the House Education Committee.

Community colleges down $9.2 million

Governor Branstad has recommended cutting the budget for community colleges by $9.2 million for 2011-2012. This makes a total cut of $15.1 million when combined with the $5.9 million cut in 2010-2011. Community colleges can't be a force in economic recovery when faced with budget cuts. Larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, and higher tuition will be the result.

Area Education Agencies (AEAs)

The Governor has recommended that AEAs funding be cut by $27.5 million in 2011-2012. This cut will jeopardize Iowa's share of federal special education funds. It hurts our most vulnerable students with special needs.

What can you do?

Attend a legislative forum in your area. Ask legislators to explain why Iowa's school children can't count on them for 4 percent allowable growth. Or, more simply put, a world class education.

Write to your legislators and ask them to fund allowable growth at 4 percent, increase community college funding, and fund AEAs so Iowa can offer world class education and won't lose federal funding for special education. Tell your story in your own words. Talk about something you'll have to do differently because you won't have adequate resources at a 0 percent allowable growth rate. Or, tell them how much you personally spend each year on classroom supplies.