School Transportation Bill Introduced in a Senate Committee

The Senate Education Committee chair Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton) introduced a bill this week that addresses transportation and district cost per pupil (DCPP) inequities within the school aid formula. The Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) has worked collaboratively with legislators to resolve inequities in school funding, primarily focusing on high transportation costs and unequal district funding per student.  SSB (Senate Study Bill) 1124 would phase in supplementary weighting for the transportation costs and per-pupil equalization proposals over a 10-year period.

This bill is based on the IASB proposal presented to the Senate Education Committee earlier this legislative session.  “If enacted, this bill would equalize per pupil funding and provide equity in student funding,” said IASB Finance Support Director Shawn Snyder. “Iowa’s funding system must provide Iowa children equal opportunities for a quality education.”  Iowa school boards encourage the legislature to ensure the education of each student is supported equally and consider moving this bill forward to resolve funding inequities.

Once fully phased-in, IASB estimates this proposal will generate approximately $128 million in transportation funding and $86 million for equalization in per pupil funding.

The Iowa House of Representatives introduced a bill that establishes a formula which provides an additional $20 per student to every school district whose transportation costs are $40 per student over the state average. The formula runs on a five year time period during which the amount of funds provided will compound for each school whose costs continue to raise an additional $40 per student above the previous year with a limit of $100 per student. Every 5 years, the formula will be re-evaluated to account for changes in the average transportation costs.

Forest City Community Schools Superintendent Darwin Lehman, explains that bill in greater detail.

Forest City Schools looked at their dollar cost average for each student in the district and realized that out of the House bill proposed by Gassman and supported by 22 other Representatives in the Iowa House, the district will see some money coming back into the education side of their budget.

The House and Senate may have to reach a compromise bill that may get to Governor Branstads’ expected departure as Governor of Iowa to become the U. S. Ambassador to China.

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