Governor says she supports transportation ‘equalization’

Iowa’s governor had some relatively good news for Iowa schools — especially rural districts — during a stop in Chickasaw County last week.

Republican Kim Reynolds said she believes that when the 2018 Legislature heads home later this spring, it will have given an increase — albeit a small one — to state supplemental aid.

Reynolds said she proposed a 1.5 percent increase to state supplemental aid in her budget but believes the Legislature will settle around 1 percent.

But she also said that she is working hard to get “transportation equalization” enacted this year.

“If we do that, and I believe we have a good chance at that,” she said, “it’s going to be more like the 1.5 percent increase I originally proposed. … What I do know is we have to do something to help districts that are spending so much on transportation.”

According to the Iowa Department of Education, school districts spend an average of $314 per student on transportation costs each year. But more rural districts with larger geographical areas to cover often spend much more.

Nashua-Plainfield, for example, spends about $400 per student, $86 higher than the state average.

New Hampton spends about $443 per student, Sumner-Fredericksburg spends $389 per student, while Turkey Valley spends more than $550 per student.

“That, in my opinion, is not fair to those school districts,” she said, “and as a state, we need some kind of path to equalization. 

“If a school is spending $200 more dollars per child to transport them, that’s taking money from the classroom and we’re going to try and fix that.”

New Hampton Tribune

10 North Chestnut Ave
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111
Email: tribune@nhtrib.com

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