Of course one of my biggest issues is our Allowable Growth rate, which they now refer to as Supplemental State Aid. By law the new rate for the 2015-16 school year should have been set last January. I need to start negotiating with our staffs, making a plan for staffing our schools next year, and certify a budget in the next 90 days. I hope they act fast on both the FY16 and FY17 growth rate so we don't have to go through this again next year.
More importantly than acting fast though is to provide adequate funding to meet Governor Branstad's goal of returning Iowa to #1 in education. We have fallen behind in student achievement in correlation with our level of per pupil funding compared to other states.
As you can see, Iowa's contribution per pupil has fallen to $1600 less than the national average. I do not understand how we can set a goal of making Iowa #1 in education when we are approximately #37 in funding. Yes, the state is making a good contribution to our Teacher Leadership and Compensation plan, but that is categorical funding, inflationary costs in goods and services continue to rise and we need to close this gap in order to avoid cutting staff.
These kids need more resources to help them achieve in school. Our funding gap exacerbates that issue. Please advocate for a Supplemental State Aid growth that can help us help all students be more successful. If Iowa is going to compete to be the best they need to level the financial playing field.