This past week I had the opportunity to sit in on several legislative panels and discussions concerning educational issues currently being addressed by the Iowa Legislature. The two issues currently receiving the most attention are allowable growth and the Governor’s Educational Reform Plan.
I would like to focus this week on the issue of allowable growth. Allowable growth is the rate of growth set by the legislature that determines the amount of money generated for each student in the district. The legislature is to determine the rate of growth for the 2014-2015 school year within thirty days after the Governor submits his budget.
The problem facing school districts currently is that the legislature has not yet set the allowable growth rate for the 2013-2014 school year, let alone the 2014-2015 school year. District budgets must be certified by April 15th and contract negotiations are currently underway. Without knowing the rate of allowable growth, planning becomes very difficult.
The Iowa Senate has passed a 4% allowable growth rate for the 2013-2014 school year, but the House has not yet acted, as they are tying the growth rate to the progress being made on the Governor’s Educational Reform Plan. The legislature’s job is not an easy one, but I hope they can find common ground on this issue so we have the ability locally to set our budgets and finalize plans for the upcoming school year.