Meeting Public Comments

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A bill for an act relating to public school funding by establishing the state percent of growth and the categorical state percent of growth for the budget year beginning July 1, 2021, modifying provisions relating to the regular program state cost per pupil, providing a funding supplement for certain school districts, modifying provisions relating to the property tax replacement payment and the transportation equity payments, making appropriations, and including effective date provisions.(See SF 269.)
Subcommittee members: Sinclair-CH, Goodwin, Quirmbach
Date: Monday, February 8, 2021
Time: 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM
Location: RM 111
Comments Submitted:
The purpose of comments is to provide information to members of the subcommittee.
Names and comments are public records. Remaining information is considered a confidential record.

02-04-2021
Kelsey Winkey []
Please, I beg of you, please do not move forward with SSB 1159. Public education is vital for student diversity, equal education opportunities, and the faculty and staff who work so hard to provide quality education to all of our Iowa students. Please, instead, consider funding public education further to provide more opportunities for students right where they are. Thank you for listening to my concern and representing my voice.
02-04-2021
Tyler Winkey []
Please vote NO on the School Choice bill! The money allocated for students attending public schools needs to stay with public schools! Vouchers do NOT work and have a proven track record of failing in other states such as Wisconsin and Kansas. The only way for failing public schools to get better is to provide adequate funding and resources from the state. The voucher bill Bill destroy those chances for failing schools.
02-04-2021
Robin Madison []
My primary concern is Division I of the bill. As a taxpayer, I want my tax dollars to be spent on public purposes, not directed to private programs that are not subject to regulation and oversight. Receipt of public funds must require accountability, transparency, and equity. Our public schools must meet an overwhelming number of statutory requirements, the most important of which is educating all who show up, regardless of limitations or special needs. Private schools can turn away any student, sending them back to the public schools. And because there are no eligible private schools in many rural areas of Iowa, there will be many rural taxpayers paying for a program their communities cannot access. While private schools face market forces in the form of parents who can leave the school if dissatisfied, public schools undergo additional oversight by elected school boards and the Iowa Department of Education. The situation in the Davenport school district is a case in point, where the Department continues to work diligently with the district to correct problems with services to special needs students. The standing unlimited appropriation for this private school voucher program should instead be used to strengthen public education that is available throughout the state to all taxpayers. I am also concerned with Divisions 2 and 3 of the bill, as they undermine the role of locallyelected school boards that are uniquely equipped to address the needs and circumstances in their communities. Please vote NO on this legislation.
02-04-2021
Roger White [N/A]
I wish to oppose the funding level proposed in SSB 1159 and urge that a more realistic level of growth of 4% be substituted instead. Under the proposed formula, 141 Iowa school districts will receive less state funding next year than they did this year. This occurs at the same time that school districts are facing increasing costs due to their struggles to accommodate Covid19 and its effects. Since all schools are now mandated to offer fulltime inperson instruction, the cost of Covid19 procedures will only get greater. In addition, the low growth proposed will lead to higher local property taxes, especially in our rural areas and small towns, as districts must shift expenses to property tax in order to comply with all mandates and necessary protections for students and staff. Last week, the majority voted to take money from our public schools to fund a private school voucher program that will immediately take funds from the Waterloo School District. That action combined with the severely limited growth over the past 4+ years create financial disaster for public schools. Children will suffer as a result. I believe that our youngsters and our community pubic schools need much more help to overcome the learning challenges of the Covid19 pandemic and to prepare students for a better future. I appeal to you either reject SB 1159 or amend it to a more realistic growth rate. Thank you.Roger L. WhiteCedar Falls, Iowa
02-04-2021
Garry Gansen []
First we need a 34 percent increase in school funding. Second No voucher program should be offered for private schools. I believe this crosses the line separating church and state. Please note most private schools are of a faith base, they arent required to comply with all requirements a public school does. Any student that receives a voucher will leave a public system and that will pull funding from a already struggling system. Vouchers do reduce public school funding.
02-04-2021
Virginia Soelberg [Ms.]
No to HSB1159. Public education is the bedrock of our society.Many schools would receive LESS funding when Covid impacts, increasing costs, and the fact that it will impact rural school disproportionally need to be considered. Does this bill suport education for the common good? I believe it falls far short.vs
02-04-2021
Kathy Krieg []
I was dismayed to learn that the Iowa Senate voted to use more taxpayer dollars to support private education, while dismantling public education in Iowa. I taught in our public schools for 34 years and know that our public schools must accept and educate every single child who enters our building, while working with every family that supports that child. If more taxpayer dollars are diverted from public education to private schools who a) don't have to accept every child, b) don't have to report to their constituents how money is spent, and c) aren't tied to the same rigorous standards that are applied to public schools then we all lose. Every citizen in our state and nation loses. We cannot have a viable democratic republic with citizens who are educated with "alternative facts" and carefully censured materials or, worse yet, who are not educated at all. Please vote against this bill and fully support public schools. Parents in our state already have several options for school choice.
02-04-2021
Linda Plakke []
The SS1159 is an atrocityto Public Education. The cutting of educational funding is inexcusable. Giving vouchers in the name of parental choice is a lie. They have a choice, choosing private education is the choice they made. Many supports and funds are already shared with private schools. Those that can afford their choice should not take from those who need education to improve their lives.
02-04-2021
Bruce Plakke []
I am a retired UNI Professor who taught Iowa's finest students to become SpeechLamguage Pathologists and Audiologists for 37 years. I have seen first hand the quality of Iowa students. This bill, if passed with again reduce the funding to public schools in Iowa. Iowa and the United States rose to greatness through the education of the public. You are dismantling the greatest asset we have in Iowa, our children. They are our future. You are short sighted and foolish to again cut public school education. It will drastically affect smaller communities more than larger ones. Please think of the good of all Iowans and defeat this bill.Sincerely,Bruce L. Plakke, Ph.D.
02-05-2021
Mark Dodd []
I do not support this bill in it's current form. It would result in 141 Iowa school districts will receive less state funding next year than they did this year. This reduction would will lead to higher local property taxes, especially in our rural areas and small towns.It is imperative we increase funding to our PUBLIC schools not play a shell game that ultimately leads to reduced funding.
02-05-2021
Debra Roberts []
As a Catholic Church member I strongly disagree with the concept of further supporting private k12 educational institutions. Private schools already syphon too many funds from public education. 141 Iowa school districts will receive less state funding next year than they did this year. In addition, it will lead to higher local property taxes, especially in our rural areas and small towns. I believe that our kids and our community schools need much more help to overcome the learning challenges of the COVID19 pandemic and to prepare Iowa children for a better future.In addition public funds should never allow the erosion of a minimum expectation from K12 as private schools frequently deviate from a standard curriculum. I also believe that if a private school wants to be private and therefore not accept all students of all education levels equally then they should do private fund raising NOT public. To do otherwise will result in all ready disadvantaged students not receiving the education they deserve in order to dig themselves out of the systemic racism and the rising caste system of the haves and the have nots.
02-05-2021
Tim Crosby []
While I do note object entirely to the use of vouchers to fund even private schools, I do strongly believe that any school that takes tax money for their operation should not be allowed to teach religion and should be subject to every last one of the laws, rules and regulations in place for our public schools. Seems fair and should put an end to the issue.
02-05-2021
Steve Siegel []
Honorable LegislatorsThis legislation will harm already struggling rural school districts by taking more funds away from those districts with declining enrollment.Also, I object to my tax dollars promoting religious beliefs which I do not support.I also object to the idea of handing home schooled students funds for college.Please vote NO.
02-05-2021
Darcy Fair-Johnson []
Hello,Please vote against this bill. Public money should not be given to private schools. Iowans have plenty of alternative education options available to them without monetarily crippling the public schools. Iowa used to have a wonderful reputation for public education and if this bill continues forward, it's just a race to the bottom. Thank you,Darcy FairJohnson
02-05-2021
Christopher Soldat []
I oppose the SSB 1159 bill. It does not meet my position about developing a public educational system that provides a world class education for all students. It weakens our schools and leads towards a less diverse educational community.
02-06-2021
Shirley Riney []
As you take up SSB1159 please do not support because this measure will greatly limit the amount of funding for our public schools here in Iowa, who are already hurting financially from years of inadequate funding. This bill goes against our League of Women policies and myself, a former teacher at Abbie Sawyer Elementary School here in Ames.Please give serious consideration to the consequences of your vote.Sincerely,Shirley Riney
02-06-2021
Doris Markwitz []
I am a retired teacher. I taught 36 years in a public school and then subbed for ten years. I taught in a medium size rural district. We have a Lutheran private school in our district. Teachers today have more demands of their time now than anytime I was teaching. They make slides for distance learning and work in classrooms where they are expected to keep students safe. These are huge responsibilities and now you want to cut their funding. This is so irresponsible and just feels like a betrayal of all the dedicated teachers that have gone above and beyond, especially this year. Please make sure our public schools that provide an education for every child that walks through the door gets the funding they need, and not just a select few that attend the church down the street.
02-06-2021
Steven Hill []
Dear committee members,Please consider your constituents who send their children to private school. We send our children to a private Catholic school so they have the freedom to pray and discuss religion in a safe and nonjudgmental school. This is something we believe public schools should provide but sadly, based on my personal experience, they do not. We believe in this freedom of thought so deeply that we make a significant financial sacrifice. Yet our tax dollars do not support our beliefs. Even some balance would ease that financial burden.Now consider your constituents who DESIRE to send their children to private school and are not afforded that opportunity due to funding. The void of public funding for private schools slams the doors on those children. Thank you for your time today and for your service to Iowan families.God bless,Steven A. Hill
02-06-2021
Wendi Peterson []
Please fund schools adequately so that ALL schools get an increase in funding for the next school year. The children of the state of Iowa deserve the best education we can give them. This can only be done if schools have enough money to hire the best teachers and be able to keep class sizes small.
02-06-2021
Judi Lehman []
Please vote no on this bill. When I moved to Iowa 45 years ago, the public school system was one of the best in the nation! Now, sadly, s public schools have declined because of so much defunding! This bill will take money from public schools, especially rural schools. Vouchers are not the path to equity. Just look to Michigan and other states who went that route. It does not work! Thank you.
02-06-2021
Melissa Dally []
Please do not defund our schools with this awful plan. It leaves so many kids behind.
02-06-2021
Mary Ellen Devereux Taylor [Parent/Taxpayer]
There is no need, nor excuse, for Iowans taxes to be going to private schools or homeschools. It is a choice to send students to schools other than public. Please care enough for public schools as you seem to be caring for private schools. It is the taxpayers money.
02-06-2021
Susan Wakefield []
The people from outside of Iowa who are writing this kind of legislation are, in the end, destabilizing the fabric of communities in our state. Public schools are a unifying force in any community, serving social connections, as well as development of sport, music and other talents. You would think that their elected representives would have their wellbeing at heart. But, no, those reps are allowing themselves to serve as puppets for someone elses agenda. Another point, if people can take my tax money to choose a private school, then I want to take tax money and choose who will pick up my garbage, plow my streets, and perhaps pay for my own private security and protection. Ridiculous? Yes. I want my taxes to be used for the common good, and public education is a most necessary good for any community.
02-06-2021
Marilyn Smith []
This govt is totally unbelievable that they want to defund our great schools. Have any of you visited any public schools. No kim Reynolds wants to be another Betsy's. Will she lost her job and so will you. Our public schools are on honor rolls. I do not want my taxes for charters schools.
02-06-2021
Dan Daly []
SSB 1159 underfunds rural public schools for the benefit of urban private schools. My 2004 quarter says "IOWA 1846 Foundation in Education" Supporting this bill would amount to turning our back on our pioneer founders who so highly valued public education for Iowa children. It would undermine the education of most of our young people to help the few who can afford a private school education. It would be a betrayal of our forefathers and as their descendants.
02-06-2021
Sandra NORFOLK []
I was a teacher librarian in Iowa schools for 19 years. Every year, the state legislature decreased funding to schools while raising expectations on teachers to teach new curriculum and on students to reach certain levels on test scores. Instead of trying to help schools by giving them more and better resources, the state legislature punished schools that didn't meet their expectations, which, many times were based on business models or input from outside sources (ALEC) that had little or no knowledge about Iowa, Iowa residents, or Iowa students.Now, the state legislature wants to take money away from public schools to provide vouchers to students so they can attend private schools. Did you know that only 10,000 students in Iowa would actually qualify for school vouchers at a cost of $54 million dollars in state funding per year? Meanwhile the other 420,000 students in Iowa only see, on average, an increase of 21 million dollars a year in state funding. If only 10,000 kids qualify then how would that have any significant effect on student achievement? Other items to consider if you think your student COULD BE one of the 10,000:Private and parochial schools can still increase tuition rates at any time which means either the state increases voucher funding or parents pay the rest. (Think of the ever increasing cost of college each year)They have no required oversight to hire highly qualified teachers. (Lets not forget that we already have INSANE teacher shortage in this state)They still do not qualify for federal funding and most grant funding so they cannot provide the programs public schools offer like specific Career and Technical Education programs, arts programs, etc. They have no required oversight to provide rich inclusive curriculum. They can deny vouchers from students who are disabled, ELL, LGBTQ and for a variety of other reasons. They do not have ELL or SPED service requirements like public schools. Many private schools SPED/ELL students go to their neighborhood public schools for these services now to supplement what is lacking at their private school. They do not have to provide free lunch, transportation, supplies or any other services to low income voucher students. Many public schools offer ACT testing, AP testing, drivers Ed, etc at no cost to low income students.They are not required to share statewide testing data to prove whether or not their students are outperforming public school students. So voucher students could be moving to a worse school than their neighborhood school.Iowas public education students are already out performing all other states that have similar voucher programs. Rural schools are already running on bare bones staffing and trying to keep their enrollment numbers up to avoid consolidation. Imagine if even FIVE students leave, thats $7000 per student that goes with them. Without transportation requirements these families would also have to move OUT of their small towns to be closer to private school options. Removing diversity plans from districts like DMPS, Iowa City, Waterloo, Postville, etc. WILL cause massive white flight to the suburbs, increasing THEIR class sizes and putting a strain on budgets. It WILL only increase our already segregated schools in this state (if you didnt know that fact, pay attention) Iowa already has a TON of open enrollment opportunities throughout the state. The voucher for those 10,000 students can also be used for COLLEGE TUITION. So those students who qualify get help for tuition expenses, but the other 420,000 public school students are on their own? How does that make any sense? Also, Anyone remember the DMPS Charter School Experiment? Those of us that do already know that this bill is solely a measure to promote white flight in urban public schools and pump tax dollars into parochial schools and DeVos style charter schools. It is NOT to increase achievement rates of students in Iowa. If it were, then more than 10K kids would qualify. Imagine what that extra 54 million dollars in state funding could do for ALL of Iowas students. Please reconsider this misguided bill.Thank you for your attention.Sandra Norfolk
02-06-2021
David Hulm []
I cannot understand why legislators seem deliberate in destroying public education in Iowa; are certain members so caught up in their own political party's agenda, sidetracked by the unconstitutional vouchers program? Please fund Iowa's public schools appropriately so that as a state, we may reclaim the pride we had in our public education as one of the best, if not the best in the nation. This used to be a bipartisan goal, another source of pride for Iowa.
02-06-2021
Alison Cocks []
I would encourage you to rethink SSB 1159. It poorly funds public schools. If we want to return to the excellent public school system Iowa was known for and Iowans were proud of, we need investment in public schools. We do not have failing schools we have underfunded schools, particularly in rural counties and districts with 100% free and reduced lunches. This will only raise property taxes. Please consider the dedication, creativity and hard work of public school staff and reward school,distructs with the monies they need provide quality education. Thank you.
02-06-2021
Michael Lilleg [Medicare]
Public funds should only be used for public schools.
02-06-2021
Sarah Iversen []
Public money is for public schools. Iowa used to be a leader in education. We are not any more. Our public schools need their funding so they can attract quality teachers. Thank you
02-06-2021
Tara Rife []
As a parent of a school age child I request that you vote No for this voucher bill! This is not student choice when the same schools this money can go to, have the right to deny enrollment, especially for special needs children. Public schools accept EVERY child and deserve better then this when they go above and beyond every day to make sure every child who wants an education gets one. Also most rural school districts do not have a public school close enough to attend so how exactly is that student choice? Public funds for a Public Schools Period!!
02-06-2021
Erin Brown []
As a public school teacher, I find this bill both offensive and terrifying. There is n data to support this recommendation, but there are many vulnerable students whose wont be accepted by private schools and/or whose families wont pursue the option, and they will be most hurt by the diversion of funds from public schools. Public schools arent like businesses; we cant market to a particular clientele (and we shouldnt!) so competition is not the way to improve outcomes. Excellent education should be available to every Iowan, and every tax dollar spent on education should go to an institution held accountable in a way that private schools are not. Private schools are the backbone of democracy and must be supported.
02-06-2021
Jim Kotouc [Private Citizen of Iowa]
It is unconscionable and irresponsible to set our children up to fail by not providing adequate funding for public schools. Republicans may hold the "majority" in the Statehouse, but clearly you do not represent the majority of taxpayers and voters in this State. Your actions continue to erode and undermine the infrastructure of our public school system. By attacking the public schools you devalue education in our State. Try doing some good for a change, rather than trying to dismantle everything. Grow a backbone, and have an original thought for a change. Quit being a puppet for ALEC. Do something constructive, rather than threatening local control by making a bunch of short sighted wholesale changes to appease your wealthier constituents who can "choose" to send their children to a parochial, private, or charter school. That is a minority, not the majority who chooses to have their taxes utilized to fund public schools.
02-06-2021
Mitch Lingo []
Against the legislation for the following issues:Issue 1 Its been tried, and the effect is mostly neutral on academic outcomes More than anything else, academically, charter schools and private voucher plans have a null effect (as in no effect) on academics. For every study that can be found showing how great they are, an analysis can be found to exhibit both systems as detrimental. And for every study, positive or negative, a study can be found to show that the students outcomes are no different from one another. So why go through the effort and spend the money on them?Issue 2Loss of economic efficiencyHave you ever stopped to wonder why elementary schools seem to be the size of the middle school you grew up going to or the middle school seeming like the high school? These changes occurred because of the economies of scale to deal with fixed coststhe more students in one building, the less duplicative fixed costs involved. As state aid awarded continues not to meet the Consumer Price Index, districts have become more efficient through increasing building size. This is where the charter school private voucher plan creates a problem. If a public elementary school finds itself next to a public charter elementary school, they draw from the same pool. Put a private school in the mix, and fixed costs become even more significant. Instead of paying one building administrator, the revenue is being distributed between three building administrators. Instead of one school nurse, you have three. Potentially, you have no nurse in all three buildings because the money shifts to a more critical fixed cost. If the public school cannot keep up its economies of scale, buildings consolidate and lose your neighborhood school.Issue 3 Scholarships for uppermiddleclass and affluent childrenAn Iowa vouchers worth is $5,200. When we consider the costs of attending a private school in the state of Iowa, the voucher is not enough to meet the needs of being able to enroll (see my posts from February 2nd). If I were to start my child at Iowa City Regina in Kindergarten, I would have to pay $9,630. I am on the hook for $4,430. How many families of four on $ 34,846 (the threshold for Free Lunch) can afford to send their child here? Let alone the ability to pay the $100 upfront in application fees? Because it is not targeted to any income threshold, vouchers will primarily benefit affluent people. Which brings me toIssue 4 Racial/Ethnic, Socioeconomic, and Academic SegregationThe literature has and continues to show that voucher and school choice systems increase racial/ethnic and socioeconomic segregation. Race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status (a metric that often includes wealth, education level, and occupational prestige on the part of the parents), and test scores continue to be intertwined. I will save the history lesson for another day, but we end up with de facto (by default) discrimination with these factors being so intertwined. Discrimination of BIPoC and children from lowsocioeconomic status becomes legitimized because of a standardized test score. For example, a BlueRibbon private school will not let in any student that is not at a competitive academic level. Since socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity are tied to test scores, certain students will be more likely to get in than others. For those stellar academics from lower socioeconomic status, I am sure these private schools may find scholarships for them IF they have the right test scores and can show the correct character and grit. Ultimately, this is how you end up with more significantly segregated schools. Those that can afford a little more can use the voucher and pay a little more. Those that cannot spend a little more are left with their public school or trying for a lottery to get into a charter school.Issue 5DiscriminationUnder the current bill, the state included text stating that the public charter schools cannot discriminate on intellectual or athletic ability, measures of achievement or aptitude, or status as a person with a disability, and race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender, identity, national origin, religion, ancestry, or disability. The same ANTIDISCRIMINATION CLAUSES DO NOT EXIST for PRIVATE SCHOOLS. When Democrats motioned to have similar language be adopted for private schools, this was voted down by the GOP. Now, why would a GOP created Bill apply this standard to charter schools but not public schools? The bill offers no protection to you or your friends children if they are/have gender fluid, African American/Black, Latino/a/x, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, facing an intellectual/cognitive disability, LGBTQ, physical disability, or any religion outside of Christianity (using this as a reference since only a couple private schools in the state are not affiliated with a Christian denomination). To me, this is both despicable and malicious. If you can look at a cousin with Down Syndrome and say they do not belong in the same school building as you, I do not have time for you. Additionally, discrimination does not always need to adhere to gender, race/ethnicity, etc. Both private and public charter schools can discriminate against students based on their parent/guardian involvement. These expectations exist to either (a) have parents/guardians selfselect out of applying or (b) use it as leverage to push students out after enrollment. Children cannot help who their parents are and how involved the parents chose to be in their education. Issue 6The Uneven Playing FieldIf school choice will be a competition for the revenue of vouchers, the playing field needs to be fair. The way the bill is written is similar to a firstdown being 5yards for private schools, 7yards for public vouchers, and 10yards for public schools. If private and public charter schools will compete with public schools, they must follow the same rules. Issue 7 No public auditing of private schoolsState Auditor Rob Sand made a statement this week stating that there is no way his office can audit the tax dollars that go to private schools under this law. Why can the state not see what is being done with their tax dollars?Issue 8 Its only beginningThe program is targeting 34 schools needing comprehensive improvement. Yes, that is a seemingly small number now, but this is typical of how states slowly switch to a voucher model of education. All it takes is one legislative session for this law to be changed to include the 307 other Iowa schools that require targeted improvement to specific student groups. You can call this a slippery slope argument, but this is how these systems make inroads into a state.Issue 9Church and stateGenerally, I take a Jeffersonian approach to how I view religion and the state in that I consider money being given from the state to religious entities to be a violation of the establishment clause. Its not that I dislike private schools, the people who go to them, or the people who put their children in them. That is their business. If religious entities want public dollars, they should be held to the same scrutiny as any public institution, which they are not.
02-06-2021
Laura Rife []
This is not for the majority of the students in Iowa! I work at a small district and pulling funds from these small districts would only hurt my students. We do not have the private schools for our students so you would give an unfair advantage to a select few. If they choose to go to a private school then it is privately funded not funded by the public. They do not have to serve every kid in Iowa like public schools therefor they should not get public funds .
02-07-2021
Julie Kuhlman []
Im hoping you receive this to know my feelings on the upcoming proposal to decrease funding for public schools. Please dont! Our public schools are already struggling and with the pandemic its been even worse. They are teaching in person, virtual and hybrid. Now is not the time to pull funding for these heros! I live in a school district that is already 5 towns consolidated into a district. Are we trying to run these rural schools out and go to 1 district per county?? Please do not reduce funding. Its our schools lifeline to providing education to hundreds of future leaders of our state!
02-07-2021
Mark Masterson []
Please vote NO on privatizing education in Iowa. Public money is not intended for private profit. Defunding Iowa's public schools is a bad idea and will take away IPERS jobs. Please don't allow this. Thank you.
02-07-2021
Michelle Moore []
Do you have any clue what teachers and staff do to help the kids of this state? Defunding the public school system has got to be one of the most tone deaf ideas Ive ever heard. You are doing the kids and families of this state. You need to think long and hard at this issue. I hope your conscience guides you to look at the people and not the money. Public schools are a treasure and by defunding or transferring funds to private schools, charter schools etc you are not helping you are hurting the future generations of Iowa
02-07-2021
Madalyn Anderson []
I am opposed to vouchers being used for private education. Public money should be for public schools only.I do not have children but fully support PUBLIC education and do not want my tax dollars supporting forprofit or religious schools.
02-07-2021
John Anderson []
I am opposed to vouchers being used for private education. Public money should be for public schools only.I support PUBLIC education and do not want my tax dollars supporting forprofit or religious schools.
02-07-2021
Dana Sanders []
This type of legislation harms more people than it helps. It helps the elite and discriminates against the less fortunate and special education needing students. It has failed on every level everywhere else. Iowa has been failing on every level under Republican leadership and this will be no different. The way that Republicans are trying to sell this has been filled with lies and does not reflect the full picture. No to vouchers, keep local control, and wear your mask!
02-07-2021
Ethan Evans []
I attended college in Iowa, and stayed in Waterloo to serve as an AmeriCorps member, working in environmental education. I'm submitting this comment to register my indignation at SSB 1159. After all that Iowa's public schools have been through, a proposal that cuts their budget further imperils both the education of its most vulnerable students and the health and safety of its teachers and staff.
02-07-2021
Jolie LeVere []
NO to defunding public schools. Do not use public funds for private or religious institutions.
02-07-2021
Virginia Miehe []
No taxpayer money should go to private schools. Not only is that against separation of church and state, it supports private schools which have agendas, do not accept students with learning disabilities or language challenges, and are not accountable to the taxpayers.Support public schools which teach ALL students.
02-07-2021
Jenna Jackson []
Why is funding for education not a greater priority? Why do we have to write and express our concerns with funds/budgets and whatnot every year? Why cant Iowa just adequately find public education? I do not understand and it greatly concerns me. This year schools have had to use more resources because of the pandemic. They have had to buy more cleaning products and PPE for both teachers and students. Why isnt that better reimbursed? Why isnt Iowa taking that into account and giving public schools more money? Just why?It has been determined that public schools are essential for the economy. Isnt that why all schools are required to do 100% facetoface? So fund them correctly. I would like my tax dollars to go to something essential like public education.
02-07-2021
Patricia A Hopes []
If you are concerned about poor functioning schools in Iowa, do something about that rather than start charter schools or fund private or religious schools with taxpayer dollars. That will not help the majority of Iowan students who attend public schools. This is a ridiculous idea. Do something to fix our schools reduce classsize, increase salaries to bring higher candidates to the teaching field, add support systems for bullying and discrimination.You need to rerepresent all ions. Not the elite.
02-07-2021
Jennifer Seals []
School vouchers are a terrible choice for Iowa schools. Public schools are crucial and deserve to be funded to make education a priority. Tax payer money that could be directed to private or charter schools is not what is best for our students and families. These institutions operate with little to no transparency and that is unethical. Do what is best for our students and direct all education funds to public schools!
02-07-2021
Lowell Dauenbaugh []
I am very strongly opposed to this bill. I do not have children in school, but continue to support public schools. They are required for a democracy. I oppose my taxes being used to be used in private schools. Where is my choice. Does this mean if I do not use libraries or parks, then I should be able to have my taxes used elsewhere. Vote no on this attack on freedom of religion and public schools.
02-07-2021
Alicia Chilton []
Vote NO on this measure! My daughter entered kindergarten this fall. The normal worries that come with this milestone were compounded by anxieties brought on by the pandemic, but I knew we would be in good, capable hands in the Des Moines Public School district. Our district had tough decisions to make at the beginning of this academic year. Going into the school year, Superintendent Tom Ahart and the school board constructed a hybrid plan that balanced the safety and health of children, teachers, staff, and the community with the need to fulfill its duties to deliver education to its students.Was it ideal? No. But was it designed to do its best? Absolutely. And then weeks before school was set to begin, after months of planning, Governor Reynolds changed the rules. And now, with SSB 1159, the legislature and Governor Reynolds are punishing schools that were trying to do their best for their students, employees, and communities. This amendment would penalize districts that were not in compliance with Governor Reynolds's July 17 mandate, taking away $65 per pupil in funding.With approximately 31,000 students, this would remove more than $2 million from the Des Moines district's budget.This comes on the heels of a law that requires schools to offer 100% inperson learning, a law that yet again has left our school districts scrambling. Because of this new law, Des Moines eliminated their hybrid learning option. Students will now be more densely packed into buildings. The measure the district had so carefully placed to ensure social distancing and allow for proper cleaning, among other measures, have vanished. Through all this, DMPS and my daughters teachers have delivered. Over and over and over again. In addition to offering two different learning tracks, the school district is finding other ways to care for their students, such as through free meals and inperson services. Since the first day of school this fall, approximately 2,000 Des Moines special education students, ELL students, Career and Technical Education students, and others students with special needs received inperson instruction, even when the rest of the district was 100% virtual due to high positivity rates in Polk County. (Source: DMPS Community Legislative Action Team)And yet, our state government continues to punish, instead of uplift, districts when they are already struggling with measures like SSB 1159. DMPS is Iowas largest district by far, almost double the enrollment of the next largest district. It is also located in the most populous area of the state. In a pandemic, these are two ingredients for rampant spread, and increased cases, ICU stays, and deaths. We have no way to know how many cases, ICU stays, and deaths Superintendent Ahart and the DMPS school board prevented since school started in August with the implementation of the district's hybrid and virtual models.But we will now know what happens when our district is forced to abandon safety measures in order to comply with mandates that have stripped away local control. I hope and pray we are nearing the end of the pandemic, and there are indications that relief is near. But prematurely relaxing safety measures and forcing the hand of our school districts will only serve to set up back, leaving schools to yet again scramble to adjust their plans. And now, with SSB 1159, we could be doing so with less funding.
02-07-2021
Craig Canavan []
Stop your disgusting efforts to defund public schools. You are disgusting money grubbing humans.
02-07-2021
Susan Osvald []
SSB1159 hurts public schools and public school students. Tax dollars should only go to public schools. The lowperforming districts should be given support and incentives to help all students achieve.
02-07-2021
Mary Ervanian [- Select -]
I do not support public money for private schools. As we know from the experiences in other states, diverting public dollars to private schools for private education drains funds from public schools. We also know that the students who are supposed to benefit from these policies largely do not. Private schools can and do pick and choose who they admit. They also can and do remove students who have challenging behaviors or needs they cannot or choose not to meet. I have seen this happen in my community multiple times. Public schools struggle sometimes to meet all students' needs because public schools serve ALL students regardless of ability, disability, mental health status, income level, etc. They are required by law to serve all students in the least restrictive environment (students with disabilities and who have IEPs). Private schools mostly do not serve those students because it is expensive and they do not have to. As students leave public schools for private, the concentration of students with needs in public schools increases and the funding to serve them decreases. If you want to help public schools and students who struggle, give them the funds to do so. The schools that struggle are not coincidentally schools that serve disproportionately poor families. Do something to meet their needs. Help those schools. Provide more funding for specialized teachers in reading and math. Provide more funding for smaller class sizes. Provide funding for more mental health care in schools. Rural schools too will suffer. Rural schools in Iowa already are faced with declining enrollment and are often forced to offer fewer course options for their students, and/or consolidate with another district. It is important for rural communities to have strong, vibrant public schools in their communities. Schools in a community help keep that community alive by keeping families there and bringing families in. It is important for rural students to have the same or at least similar choices of courses to study as students in larger urban areas have. That means high level science and math, technology, industrial arts, and AP courses.Charters: Nonprofit Charter schools that operate with and under the local public schools are fine. They are transparent and answer to the families in the community, and are committed to providing a good education. They also hire staff that meet the same standards of local public schools. Forprofit Charters that do not work under/with the local schools are not motivated to provide an excellent education. Their ultimate goal is to turn a profit. They also can use any standard they please for hiring staff. Again, we can see from other states (Michigan, Indiana, Florida, California..) that the educational outcomes from these schools is poor and lags behind public schools. In Michigan, private forprofit charters have hired unqualified staff, been poorly run, misspent funds, and even closed mid year, leaving students in the lurch. Again, diverting money this way will hurt rural and urban public schools in Iowa. No to public money for private schools.
02-07-2021
Crista Grant []
Public money needs to fund public schools, where every child is welcome. Your continued efforts to take funding away from public education is truly shameful. The majority of Iowans have repeatedly spoken out against your efforts and once again, you are not listening.
02-07-2021
Tanya Bodenstedt []
I have two children in the public school system and am asking that you step back and instead go down a path that allows for improvement of public education, which benefits society at large, rather that this shortsighted push for private education. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are required to admit and serve all students. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, who are not required to adhere to this principle of equity. Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. The absence of public accountability for public funds could contribute to waste and fraud of taxpayer dollars.
02-07-2021
Kari Weaver []
The format of this bill allows for the defunding of already underfunded public schools. Public education used to be a priority and a source of pride for Iowa. But the actions over the last couple of decades have been working to destabilize and delegitimize these institutions. As an educator at the college level, and someone who is finishing a doctoral degree in education, I am beginning to realize that I may need to move out of Iowa in order to find better schools for my kids, and be in a state that values public education and educators (and the related mission of equal access to quality education). This sad choice of possibly leaving the state that I have loved is reflective of elements of brain drain that our state has been and will continue to face if our government continues to chip away at our public schools.My votes are based on how legislators respond to these issues.
02-07-2021
Michael Dale []
I find it disappointing that the state legislature in this bill finds it their business to punish school districts from a financial standpoint for making local decisions that they felt were in the best interest of their students. While I applaud the one time supplemental funding proposed that will hopefully offset some of the lost funding due to drop in enrollment due to the pandemic, with the state's self reported rainy day fund I would imagine the state could afford more than the proposed 2.2% annual growth.While a public spat between the governor and DMPS was well documented in the media it is an embarrassment for the legislature to punish the students further with this bill. Be excluding the students of the district from the additional supplemental aid you are punishing the students unjustly. The district will now be punished twice, the students will ultimately pay the price and it's employees who had no say in the decisions made by the superintendent and the school board will be the ones that will be negatively impacted. The district already will incur the cost of having the make up the hours that were not counted from the time they were in noncompliance, they've lost students already, and you have school choice bills that I do not support, that will negatively impact the district. Why continue to pile on? I would imagine that action against the district would be better served against the superintendent and the BOEE for not following the law rather than punishing students and staff members with this bill. Shame on you.
02-07-2021
Deb Symonds []
Defunding public education. To what end? To raise property taxes? This is no longer a good place to live.
02-07-2021
Linda Kruse []
Schools need a para in every elementary classroom to help students who are not catching up from almost 3 months lost in Spring 2020. If you feel students need to flee underperforming schools, fix the public school so it will meet standards.
02-07-2021
Natalie Lonsdale Gruss []
Please vote no to vouchers. Public money needs to go to public schools only. Private schools do not admit children with learning, emotional, mental or physical disabilities. We cannot give public money to entities that discriminate by not taking children with disabilities.
02-07-2021
Karen stein [parent, voter]
By passing this bill, you would reduce funding so severely that schools could possibly stop functioning as they are now. As of now, we are barely making ends meet programmatically due to lack of funding with necessary materials. In case that you are not aware, when students go to private schools, quite a number of these private schools end up sending their own students to the closest public schools due to special education or programmatic limitations! That means that all schools have the potential of suffering and the drastic limitation of educating or children's academic needs. At one point, Iowa was the academic beacon. Today, Iowa is quite further behind and most likely falling more behind with bills that limit and take away funding. This will limit the manner in which educators teach and children's academic achievements. Another reason so many families leave Iowa. Please do not consider passing this bill. It will hurt our education and our children's academic future.Thank you.
02-07-2021
Kathy Kaldenberg []
SSB 1159, the Iowa Senate GOP's school funding bill, is so meager that 141 Iowa school districts would actually get less state funding than this year. This level of state support is so low that it would automatically trigger local property tax increases, especially in Iowas rural areas and small towns.For the good of our students and communities, please do not support this.
02-07-2021
Jennifer Nessa Kucuk []
I would like to express my grave concerns with SSB 1159. A 2.2% SSA increase is certainly not sufficient, but even more alarming is the portion of this bill that singles out children that attend Des Moines Public Schools. It punishes them for decisions made by the DMPS leadership and board, by withholding a onetime supplemental payment of $65/student. This is simply not ethical. As adults, we can disagree about how best to keep our communities safe and educate our children, but to hold back financial resources to Des Moines students, that will be made available to every other student in the state, will hurt the over 31,000 students going to school in Des Moines. And this includes my child. My family has been very happy with the education provided this year and so have my neighbors and friends, whether virtual or hybrid. I certainly understand some families in DMPS have wanted to be fulltime and that the district was not fully compliant at the beginning of the school year, but this bill does not resolve that issue. It is apparent in the writing of this bill and in earlier Senate debates that there are many Senators who believe DMPS was wrong in the decisions it made this school year as the world was coping with the pandemic. We teach our children that two wrongs dont make a right; I expect better from those in our legislature!
02-08-2021
Tracey Stevens []
Public money should go to public schools. This will only hurt our schools and our kids!
02-08-2021
Amy Thiessen []
Good Afternoon,I would like to go on record against this bill. As a lifetime Iowan and Mother of schoolage children, this not bill will negatively impact families, children, teachers, and staff throughout the state. The system most affected will be our public school which are already severely underfunded, and have reached a breaking point prior to the added financial burden of this bill. This bill is NOT for the benefit of Iowans and thereforeI am completely against it. Thank you.
02-08-2021
Sally Strang []
What has happened to the treasured concept of church and state? If you want a religious education, pay for it or teach your kids at home or share your values through family conversations. I do not want my taxpayer dollars going to any private organization that does not have the same requirements as the public schools.
Attachment
02-08-2021
Lisa Armstrong []
I do not support this bill. Strengthen public schools by increasing their monies. Do not allow monies for public schools go to private ones. If a school is failing, help. There are so many factors of why a student might fail.
02-08-2021
Margaret Buckton [Urban Education Network]
Summary of the attached testimony: UEN is registered opposed. UEN supports and thanks the Senate for continued investments in closing the equity gap in the formula and funding the transportation equity funding. However, the proposed 2.2% increase in SSA is not enough. 1) 80% of school budgets are staff. The only way to get more efficient is with fewer staff or paying staff less with less benefits. Schools are already stretched to compete with the private sector with Iowa's low unemployment rate and teacher, substitute, bus drivers and paraprofessional shortages. 2) A higher SSA will lower property taxes: The budget guarantee with this 2.2% proposal will cost property tax payers $31.2 million next school year. When the cost per pupil is not sufficient, special education costs are shifted to property taxes. Chart in the attached document shows impact of various funding scenarios. Over the last decade, special education deficits have grown form $24 million to $162 million statewide. An SSA between 34% will reverse this trend. 3) Lower enrollment this year means the Legislature and Governor can invest the typical $95 million in public schools and afford an increase between 34%. 4) The $65 per pupil "bonus" for districts in crafted in such a way to avoid providing additional funds for Des Moines students. If legislators and the Governor value inperson instruction and support success for Iowa's neediest students, the funds for this onetime bonus would be better spent by increasing the SSA rate. This would further the principles of the funding formula (adequate funding for schools, equity for students, relief for property tax payers.)5) Iowa's investment in schools is not competitive with the rest of the nation or with Iowa economic growth. Chart in the attached document shows the state cost per pupil (SSA) over time compared to Iowa's State Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Latest US Census data shows Iowa ranks 8th our of 12 states in the Midwest spending $1,014 less then our region and ranks 28th in the nation, spending $880 less per student than the nation. Our economy has fared the pandemic as well as any state. We have the resources to invest in public schools. 2021 is a good year to make up some lost ground.
Attachment
02-08-2021
Pat Weber []
I want my tax dollars to pay for public schools. Stop defunding our public schools.
02-08-2021
Ashley Cooprider-Brown []
Good morning,I am writing as a concerned parent, educator, and tax paying citizen to encourage you to vote NO on SF 159. Or, better yet, let's not even move this Bill to the House for debate. First, plain and simple, public funds should stay in public schools. While I am first to admit public education isn't perfect (nothing is perfect), however, that does not mean we should take away funding for public education! Now more than ever, public schools need to be properly funded. Especially considering we are now required to teach in person and online (at least I am, personally), we shouldn't be giving schools less money and resources to work with. The opposite is true we need MORE funding, not less. Second, I find it offensive to hear the word "failing school" when mentioning this bill. These 34 schools are not failing, rather, they serve a more challenging group of students and families. Poverty is the number one factor...if we want to improve schools, let's get rid of poverty! I realize that solving poverty is a challenging issue...until we figure out how to do that, let's keep our public schools properly funded. Let's not fail to realize that many (if not most) of the students and families who are living in poverty are also Black, Latino, immigrants, etc. Allowing vouchers or "ESAs" will further segregate our schools, and that is NOT what Iowa should stand for in the 21st century we should be working harder to bring people together and make education a priority for ALL, not just the small portion of students who will benefit from these vouchers. Oh, and there is no proof that sending students to private schools even improves the quality of their education...some studies suggest the opposite (but that's another matter entirely).Years ago, I taught in a more urban school environment which was labeled a "school in need of improvement" during the NCLB era. However, as educators we were working very hard and serving these families the best that we could! School is much more than a place to educate students...in many of these urban, lower socioeconomic schools, schools are a "safe place" for students and families. We should continue to properly fund (maybe even more funding!) so these students can have the resources and high quality teachers they deserve.Finally, I am concerned that private schools do not have to serve ALL students the way public schools do. We (public schools) are not allowed to turn away students based on their religion, race, sexuality, or ability. We take all students as they are. While I am not suggesting a private school would turn anyone away based on what I mentioned, I know for a fact that they can and do turn away students with IEPs and who require special education services. While it is their right to do so as a private entity, this should NOT be allowed when receiving public taxpayer funds.Thank you so much for your time please vote NO on SF 159, and remember public taxpayer dollars should go to public schools.Best,Ashley (Cooprider) BrownVocal/Elementary Music TeacherParent and AdvocateGilbert, IA
02-08-2021
Eloise Cranke []
I urge you to oppose SSB 1159, a bill related to public school funding. The proposed increase of 2.2% simply isn't enough to provide for quality education. It wouldn't be enough in a normal year, but following a year of the stress and financial strain due to the pandemic, it's even more inadequate. An increase of 3% would still be a bare minimum, but a little better than what's being proposed. Further, the bill contains a provision (Section 6) to give supplemental funding to all school districts except the Des Moines Public Schools. This is outrageous! It's a spiteful and meanspirited attack on a district that was trying to make the safety of students and staff a top priority. Students in this district will be harmed by this childish attempt at revenge. Please oppose SSB 1159!Thank you for considering my views.Eloise M. Cranke
02-08-2021
Barbara Holt []
When I attended Iowa schools in the 50s60s, we were known to be at the top of the nation's schools...the best of the best! Although we have fallen a bit in some of the rankings, we are still providing a sound education to our children and must maintain that high level! Our children are our future leaders, scientists, doctors and teachers! They are our future essential workers! They will be sitting in the same chairs that our state and federal representatives now occupy. Our public school teachers are expected to be highly educated and yet receive salaries often unequal to their credentials, but because of their love of teaching and commitment to their students, they continue as educators. Our state funding most certainly belongs to our public schools which are in desperate need of yet more funding in order to continue to provide the sound education that our young people deserve. To have the choice of attending a private school is certainly acceptable. To provide state funds for private schools is not! Please vote against SSB 1159!
02-08-2021
Lisa Cunningham []
I am firmly against SSB1159. I do not want more of my tax dollars going toward private schools, and especially private schools run by religious institutions. At a point in Iowa's history that public education needs all the funding it can get, you are suggesting we spend only $20 million on this year's education and public school funding, yet up to $50 million towards private schools. This will devastate an already struggling public education system, especially the small rural schools who already have had to consolidate to stay open. Many of these schools do not have a private school withing the district and need the funding that would be siphoned off. If you do not want "failing" public schools, stop under funding them and advancing bills such as this one. This is NOT what the majority of Iowan's want.
02-08-2021
Vanessa Phelan []
In kindergarten, my daughter's class had 27 students. Our school has had to do more with less for too many years. The levels of proposed funding would raise our property taxes to an unsustainable degree, yet there is $300 million sitting in a surplus fund. Please stop shortchanging our kids! We moved to Iowa in part because we were told that the public schools are wonderful. We love our school, teachers, and staff, but they shouldn't have to do more with less because legislators won't even keep pace with inflation. The cuts our district would have to undergo would be devastating.We are DMPS parents, so it is of particular concern that every district but ours would get a one time fee. DMPS students should not be held responsible for decisions that the school board and administration made. Especially because the board and administration were trying to keep their community safe. This vindictive proposal would do nothing except punish the thousands of kids in our district, which is the largest and most diverse in the state. Please fund schools adequately! The budget should not be "balanced" at the expense of our children.
02-08-2021
Melissa Peterson [Iowa State Education Association ]
Senators The ISEA is registered in opposition to SSB 1159 for two primary reasons. 1st 2.2% SSA increase is inadequate to properly fund our public schools that serve more than 480,000 across our great state. Without a minimum of at least a 3% increase in SSA for FY 2022, we will continue to fall behind the national average in per pupil funding, particularly at such a challenging time. 2.2% does not keep pace with the cost of inflation and will further strain our already stressed system. 2.2% based off of the enrollment of the 20202021 school year, is less than half the dollar amount increase made last year, before the pandemic. While we appreciate the attention paid to addressing per pupil equity and transportation equity, we can and should do better for our students and communities. 2nd Section 6 of this bill seeks to punish a single district, DMPS, by excluding them from being eligible to receive one time supplemental resources. While we appreciate the proposal to appropriate $30 million in one time funds, to not distribute these much needed resources in an equitable fashion goes against the entire propose of Iowa Code Chapter 257 Financing School Programs which is to equalize educational opportunity, as well as provide a good education for ALL the children of Iowa. Additionally I believe it is critical to point out that DMPS recently had a plan to makeup any lost instructional time due to the pandemic, approved by the Iowa Department of Education. The administration and staff of the district came together in a collaborative fashion and made student centered adjustments including repurposing negotiated in service days, to ensure students were not shorted. Do not penalize a district and the children that they serve, for doing what they thought was best to protect the health and safety of their students and staff. Thank you for your consideration and we implore you to distribute the one time supplement in an equitable fashion.
02-08-2021
Kay Mackey []
Public money is for public schools. Public schools have been under funded for 10 years. Private schools pick & choose which students they want to have attend.Public schools educate all children. They can say no to no one.Stop trying to find private schools with my tax dollars!
02-08-2021
William Holt []
Stop the Steal has a different meaning here: Public schools have been struggling with decreasing state funding for several years. If state money for public education is syphoned off for religious and charter schools that can deny entrance to ADA students and low achievers and do so in a nontransparent way, Iowa public schools will eventually be headed to the bottom rung of United States public school academic standings a woeful transition from once being near the top for many years.
02-08-2021
Mary Maher []
Dear I am writing to ask you to oppose legislation to defund public schools. The bill would siphon away taxpayer money meant to improve education for Iowas 500,000 children and would only benefit a small fraction who could take advantage of the limited scholarships to attend private or charter schools and with little public oversight. This proposal was drafted without input from public school districts and would change athletic eligibility standards and lift open enrollment caps for five districts under antidiscriminatory diversity requirements. I feel it is the wrong public policy for Iowa and an inappropriate use of public tax dollars. I had the privilege and I feel I was privileged to have gone to both private and public schools. My parents sacrificed to send me there. But I was unable to send my children to private schools because I did not have the money to do so because I was a single Mother. If we fully fund certain parents being able to send their children to private and charter schools, we will not be able to satisfactorily fund private school for all students. Iowa already has in place a mechanism with tuition assistance for parents to send their children to private schools if they so desire. Iowa should instead more appropriately fund our public schools to make sure every student has the chance to receive a good education. As argued by the Governor a child should not suffer from being denied being able to transfer to a better school because of their zip code. Rather the argument should be if a child wants to transfer out of that school because it is not meeting his or her needs, then that school should be funded better to meet all of the needs of the students in that school. Shame on you legislators for not adequately funding ours schools by only passing a 2.3% when a 3% increase was recommended. If you are not funding our public schools to keep up with inflation then this is essentially a budget cut. Our Governor has bragged about our budget surplus amidst a global pandemic. So rather than using some of that surplus for increasing state funding to improve the education of 94% of Iowa children, she proposes to pull money from those students to pay others to opt out of the system. Also not passing this budget on time put the schools in a time crunch to come up with their budgets. Please put Iowans first and dont aim to have a surplus. Our taxpayer money is to be spent on We the People. Respectfully, Mary M. Maher Irishmaher4gmail.com
02-08-2021
Joyce Kenagy []
Please support public schools! Do not defund these schools.
02-08-2021
Jenny price []
Failure to back our public schools is a failure to our children.
02-08-2021
Dianne Ehret []
Teachers, are the legislators contacting you on what is best for our students and public education???? As a retired teacher reading the latest bills being discussed it appears they are not!! It certainly would be great for my grandchildren to pursue a private school education, but I am talking about all our students! The current legislation being discussed will add to the financial and racial disparities we are already facing. Not to mention the pandemic which has affected us all! We need to discuss the best practices with our teachers and make Iowa a place all children can receive a top notch education! Will it take time? Yes. Will it cost money? Yes. Do parents love their children and want what is best for them? Of course. But not all of them are able to make a sound decision for their childrens education without the input of their teachers! Legislators, it is your job to meet with the educators in your jurisdiction and discuss what is best for the students. Dont rely on all parents to contact you!! Please do the right thing and take the time to research our current educational needs before you vote on any new legislation.
02-08-2021
Kay Pence [QC ARA & IA ARA]
At the same time there is legislation to divert public funds for private education it is disappointing to see such a pitiful proposal to fund public education. When I could have moved with my job, I stayed in IA in part because of our excellent schools. My kids came first. Now I'm retired and my children are making the same decision regarding my grandkids education. Don't destroy quality public education!
02-08-2021
Norma Hanke []
Our public schools need more funding and I am opposed to the legislation benefitting charter school parents. For a large part of my life I have been proud of the educational system in our state but public school funding in Iowa has been consistently lacking for a number of years. When these charter or private schools are unable to meet the needs of some students the students are sent to the public school system. Private means private. They should be funded privately and not by our tax dollars.
02-08-2021
Elizabeth Gookin []
I am absolutely against any reduction in funding to public schools. We need it now more than ever to support our staff, teachers, students and programming. No money should be redirected from public schools for vouchers or any other reasons. If a few kids leave for a private school there are still costs for teachers and programs, supplies and support. Whether there are 30 kids in a class or 25, the teacher and program costs are still needed. You must look for a solution that wont take crucial funding from the public schools.Additionally, it would also be unconscionable to distribute funds to all schools except Des Moines Public. So many children have special learning and social needs and that requires the best teachers and leaders. Many of the children are in poverty or learning English while they are leaning all their school subjects. Resources and funding are crucial for success. Do not set our schools up for failure. Our community is only as strong as our weakest neighbors. We must lift them up and we can do that by supporting the children and their schools.
02-10-2021
Annette Niebelski []
Give parents the option to remove the toxic debunked 1619 Project which is divisive and replace it with something better like 1776 Unites https://1776unites.com/ and Thomas Sowell
02-13-2021
KAREN OLOUGHLIN []
As a public school educator for 30 years in Iowa now is not the time to underfund public education. Schools have incurred additional costs this year due to Covid and the enrollment numbers have been affected also by Covid. Inadequate funding, as we have seen in the last few years, results in an inability for schools to function at their best but especially after this year would be devastating and disheartening. We have larger class sizes, less preparation time, and spend more out of pocket money while meeting the needs of all of our learners. Districts are finding it harder to provide a competitive salary which results in the inability to find staffing, especially in high need or highly technical disciplines. The districts hit hardest by this are the smaller rural districts. Their budgets are spread so thin right now and they have already had to make cuts due to past underfunding that inadequate funding at this time may very well cripple them. It will result in the need for higher taxes in those local districts where communities are already stretched thin. Please, we need your support to be able to do our jobs and more importantly, the school children of Iowa need your support. They are ultimately the ones that will suffer.Karen O'Loughlin