(The Center Square) – Pending Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature, Iowa per pupil spending will increase 2.4 percent for Fiscal Year 2022.
Iowa legislators have decided to raise the state percent of growth and categorical state percent of growth from last year’s 2.3 percent to 2.4 percent for Fiscal Year 2022, for a state supplemental aid of $155 per pupil.
“It is my understanding that the bill increases K-12 public school funding relative to inflation,” State Senator Jeff Taylor, R-Sioux Center, vice chair of the Senate’s Education Committee, told The Center Square in an email. “It’s not a cut in education spending. It’s 2.4 percent increase, which keeps ahead of inflation.”
Taylor said he believes the governor will sign the bill, which was amended by S-3022. The amendment raised the previously proposed percentage from 2.2% to 2.4%, and lowered the original bill’s $15 addition for regular program state cost per pupil to $10.
“The amount of funding authorized by the Senate bill, as amended by the House, demonstrates the commitment of Republicans to public education,” Taylor said. “It is reliable and sustainable financial support by state government.”
If the bill passes, there will also be an additional increase to the regular program state cost per pupil of $10 dollars, which is the same additional increase to regular program state cost as was established in the 2020-2021 budget year. The state cost per pupil is projected to be $7,227.
The Iowa Association of School Boards stated on its website that it opposed the original Senate bill but changed its registration to neutral after the House amendment.
Fiscal impacts include the bill’s decrease of state aid to Area Education Agencies, which provide special education services, by an estimated $7.5 million and decrease of preschool funding by $7.4 million compared to Fiscal Year 2021, to $80.9 million.
The bill increases property tax replacement payments by an estimated $11.5 million. State categorical supplements for school districts and Area Education Agencies would increase $7.7 million to $560.5 million, including $37.1 million for the early intervention supplement and $317.8 million for the teacher salary supplement at the district and Area Education Agencies.
The bill, as amended, also requires the additional levy portion of the fiscal year 2022 student cost per pupil to be frozen at $750 per pupil, regardless of the per pupil increase for that fiscal year.
“It’s likely that routine ‘cost of living’ raises for teacher salaries are in excess of 1.4 percent or 2.4 percent in some school districts, but fiscal problems resulting from that practice are the responsibility of local school boards, not state government,” Taylor said.