Our District will host a monthly legislative forum focused on education at the Educational Services Center. We extend invitations to boards, administrators, teachers, and staff of the Clear Creek-Amana, College, Highland, Iowa City, Lone Tree, Mid-Prairie, Solon, and West Branch school districts. This forum is a chance for the legislators to share an update on what is happening in Des Moines and to ask questions of the districts represented. After that we offer districts the chance to ask questions of the legislators.
For this year we will plan to meet:
Friday, December 16 - 4:00-5:00 (cancelled)
Friday, January 20 - 4:00-5:00
Friday, February 17 - 4:00-5:00
Friday, March 24 - 4:00-5:00
Friday, April 14 - 4:00-5:00
Supporting students, educators, and public education in Iowa.
Public education is the backbone of every Iowa community. Public schools are educating the next generation of Iowa leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors, teachers, doctors, tech wizards, researchers, and farmers. Our future workforce and society are learning in Iowa's public school classrooms today.
Public education welcomes every student and breaks the cycle of poverty. Although taxpayers realize a return on the investment in public education, we also know that public schools are the heart of our communities, preparing our students to be caring citizens. Our public school educators, staff, and leaders strive every day to meet children where they are, challenge them when they need a push, help them recover when they fall, and support them to success. Most Iowans today have a public school teacher they can thank, who sets them and their classmates or their children on the right track to success.
The Iowa Legislature is again discussing proposed legislation that would create a school voucher program in Iowa, often referred to as Education Savings Accounts. Learn more about how you can advocate against school vouchers.
Our Legislative Priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session
Invest in Iowa's Future
From March 2021 to March 2022, inflation reached 8.5% in Iowa. School districts need adequate funding to keep pace with this harrowing trend. An increase in Supplemental State Aid of at least 5.0% is crucial for school districts to manage operating cost increases, reduce class sizes, retain high-quality staff, and make up for decades of underfunding.
Fully Fund 4-Year-Old Preschool Instruction
Children who participate in early childhood programming have better health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes than those who are not able to take part. Research also shows that students with access to 4-year-old preschool are less likely to repeat a grade, less likely to be identified as having special needs, more prepared academically for later grades, and more likely to graduate from high school. Fully-funded 4-year-old preschool is an essential component in closing the achievement gap and providing equitable access to early childhood education for ALL students.
Ensure Public Dollars Remain with Public Schools
Taxpayer-funded scholarships for private schools do not equate to “school choice.” Taxpayer-funded scholarships are a diversion of public education funds to private, non-regulated institutions. The proposed system would only widen the inequity gap for underprivileged families in rural and urban areas leaving public schools in an even more dire state of underfunding. Learn more about how you can advocate against school vouchers.
Establish Adequate Mental Health Services for Kids
1 in 5 U.S. children has a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder. Even more alarming, suicide is the second leading cause of death for middle and high school students. However, mental health services and access for children continue to lag in Iowa. Funding increases for mental health services are critical to addressing the alarming needs across our state. While passionately committed to our students’ well-being, our educators are not mental health professionals. Public schools in Iowa need a network and systems of support to better respond to this growing concern.
Restore the Integrity of Collective Bargaining
The restoration of Chapter 20 (public employee collective bargaining) will directly impact the teacher shortage crisis faced across the state. The ability to attract new teachers and retain those currently in the field is paramount. We need to be uplifting and elevating the profession, not taking action to diminish the role of educators. Restoring the full collective bargaining process to our public employees would be a positive first step in that direction.