SUNDAY TALK: Gassman on Week Three in the Iowa Legislature

As I talked to different people in our local school systems, something I heard a lot was that there isn’t enough funding for special education. This week I was assigned to SF 316 which proposes the creation of an interim study committee to learn more about special education and how we can improve upon it. The bill proposes that the study committee:

1. look at laws concerning students with individualized education programs,
2. look into how inclusion requirements and least restrictive environment placements affect
the classroom when students that require special education are put into a general
education classroom,
3. review different strategies that schools use to accommodate students with individualized
education programs,
4. find ways to improve outcomes for students that need special education,
5. find a graduated process to move students into a general education classroom, and
6. look into how we can find a better system for funding special education.
The study committee would hear from several different groups of people, including but not limited to the Department of Education, school administrators, general and special education teachers, and parents. The committee will then submit a report of their findings to the General Assembly. We held the subcommittee on this bill last Wednesday. There was a lot of support for it and it
passed out of the subcommittee.

House Republicans School Funding Proposal:
House Republicans are proposing a $108 million increase in funding for K-12 education for the 2020-2021 school year. These funds would include $94.7 million dollars put towards Supplemental State Aid, $7.25 million dollars put towards reducing the cost of transportation for rural schools, and $5.8 million dollars put towards equity funding to continue reducing the cost per pupil gap. The total amount of increase in funding is 2.8% which would bring the total amount of funds dedicated to our K-12 education to $3.4 billion dollars a year. A point of interest is that teacher pay in Iowa ranks among the highest in the nation.

Visit from FFA Students:
On Tuesday I was visited by Algona FFA, Lake Mills FFA, and Forest City FFA. I was able to tell them a little bit about what a typical day up here is like and ask them what issues they were interested in. I had the opportunity to ask one of the groups about a new law that we passed requiring high school students to take one semester of financial literacy. The students I talked to
thought it was a good idea, which was nice to hear.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you in this position. If you have any questions please email, call, write, or meet with me.
My e-mail is: tedd.gassman@legis.iowa.gov
My cell phone number is: 515-538-0117
Tedd Gassman

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