Kapucian Korner – February 15, 2013
Allowable Growth for Fiscal Year 2015
Continuing to put the cart before the horse
Two weeks ago the Senate voted to set the Fiscal Year 2014 Allowable Growth rate at 4%. We spoke out about the disservice that setting the rate without education reform provides students. The money we give schools is useless without the proper tools. We need to focus on getting to the root of the problems before we decide to increase funding. Two weeks later, the story has not changed. We cannot put the cart before the horse when it comes to committing to education funding in Iowa. Setting the Allowable Growth rate two years out without knowing next year’s rate is the wrong thing to do. It is unfortunate that in Senate some feel the need to hastily push this legislation through the legislative process. Making this hasty decision without any measurable reform continues to reward and fund a system in need of change. We can still reach an agreement on education reform and address Allowable Growth on a timely basis.
Just like FY 14, the numbers for FY 15 are high. Assuming a 4% Allowable Growth rate in both years would increase the statewide cost per pupil by $250 in FY15. The FY15 cost per pupil will be $6,491. That means about $4.2 billion would go to schools which is an increase of $114.6 million in state aid compared to FY14 estimates. We are spending more money than ever on students with less desirable results and students entering the workforce are unprepared and unable to compete at a global level. In 1992, Iowa students rated top in the nation for performance. Iowa student performance has since fallen to 25th place nationally.
Helping Those Who Cannot Help Themselves
The state has more than 125,000 citizens who are challenged by mental health and disability. Last year, the Legislature passed a policy that would dramatically change the way mentally disabled citizens are cared for in the State.
The new policy created a regional approach for care. At first blush it seemed this would be a more efficient way in doing things. However, the idea has been a complete debacle, with two big faults.
First, the plan needs funding. The state has limited funding for transition to the new plan, and has not come to a resolution on what counties should pay. This has caused a lot of dissention!
Secondly, no agreement has been made on what core services would be required for people with mental disabilities. It appears that vocational jobs, as a core service, are on the chopping block. This would mean they would sit in a care facility without some job outlet. We definitely need to continue to work on this issue.
Corn Suitability Rating
I just came out of a subcommittee on a bill I had drafted dealing with the corn suitability rating (CSR). The federal government has requested Iowa State to develop (CSR2), to address production changes in our soils.
Many involved in agriculture may not be aware of this coming change and if they are they don’t know how it will affect the rating on their property.
My bill simply stated that land advertised for sale, listing CSR2 would be required to list CSR as well. This would be in effect for two years until everyone would become familiar with the change.
I have had people voice their opinion on both sides of the issue and I am considering how to proceed. I obviously raised the awareness.
See you out and about the district.