First of all I would like to thank everyone who supports the NFV communities and our reorganization vote. What an awesome turnout and wonderful results. I pledge to continue to make NFV a point of pride for all of you. As we work together to create this new school district called North Fayette Valley Community School District over these next 15 months or so, we will rely on input from combined board members and you, our patrons, to continue moving our district forward. Starting Monday February, 13, when the "Interim Board" is appointed for this new school district, the work of developing policies, contracts and other strategic planning will take a larger and larger focus. We will be ready on July 1, 2018 to enter the NFV era for our schools. NFV Pride!
While we have cleared this very important hurdle we have another challenge that needs a response. Our legislature has approved a very small 1.1% increase in public school funding this past week and they are now working on an overhaul of the collective bargaining law for State of Iowa employees, including teachers. This could be good for schools, but also has many unintended consequences that we see popping up in our neighbor Wisconsin. I'll just wait and see how that comes out.
The bigger challenge is the School Choice movement. Here is an article by our neighbor Mike Haluska of Decorah on this topic. Public school advocates need to be aware that the small SSA increase by the Iowa Legislature will be followed up be a potential larger allocation to private school and charter school groups. They say they are not asking for any of the public school money, but the shifting of priorities in the statehouse is evident. While they could not fund the Governor's recommendation for 2% SSA they will fund more than that additional $40 million of SSA increase and hand it over to the school choice advocates.
The bottom line is we do have current choices in Iowa (open enrollment, virtual academies, various home school options and the network of private schools). Why should we be funding MORE choices when public schools are not failing our youth, the quality of our public schools are far better than some people make you believe. I'll have more on that in the future, the data is very enlightening. Thanks for listening and please help us battle the school choice lobbying by contacting your legislators.