Vander Linden – Capitol Update: February 8th, 2018

by Guy Vander Linden

Legislature Votes to Increase School Funding by $32 Million

This week the House and Senate took action on bills to increase funding for schools through what’s known as Supplement State Aid (SSA). SSA sets the base amount of funding on which school district budgets operate and establish how much funding the state will put into schools. It comes in the form of a percent increase on the Per Pupil amount, which through a complex formula establishes how much schools can spend next year.

The increase passed by both chambers was a 1% increase on the Per Pupil amount, increasing it from $6664 to $6731 per student enrolled in each school, a $67 increase. This means for the average class of around 25 students, each district will see an additional $4,489 next year in funding through the formula.

From a total budget perspective this amounts to an increase of $32 million that the state is investing in schools. It piggybacks on a trend of the previous 7 years of increases that the legislature has provided, making for an 8 year total increase of $767 million dollars. In terms of percentage, this represents a 30.4% increase in school aid, taking the state investment from $2.444 billion in Fiscal Year 2011 to $3.211 billion next fiscal year.

New Interactive Maps Show Employment Levels, High-Demand Jobs by Legislative District

In a recent press release Iowa Workforce Development’s Labor Market Information released interactive maps that will provide Iowa legislators with current unemployment rates and high-demand jobs by district.

“We are excited to be able to provide Iowa legislators with real insights into constituent employment levels and opportunities for growth in districts,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said. “This will help communities better collaborate on solutions to meet skilled labor needs in their legislative districts.”

Users can switch between the Iowa Senate district map and Iowa House district map. High-demand job opportunities for each chamber are viewable by three separate categories:
• by estimated total change from 2010-2018;
• by estimated percentage change from 2010-2018;
and
• by estimated annual openings in 2018.

“There are such great jobs and opportunities in the state of Iowa,” Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said. “We just need to do a better job of educating Iowans about what those opportunities are.”

High-demand jobs are filterable by education level or median wage. To be included, the occupation’s typical entry-level education has to be beyond a high school diploma (unless the state provides a registered apprenticeship program for it.) Median hourly wage also needs to be $15 or more. Occupations with insufficient data to report were removed from analysis. Only jobs that met all criteria were included.

Typical entry-level education requirements are based on national data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth and openings data is based on the most relevant
county-level data for each district.

The unemployment rate is based on aggregate data for the relevant census tracts per legislative district (annual rate from July 2016-June 2017.)

Sources for the maps include 2010-2018 job growth and openings data from Emsi as well as unemployment rate data and Areas of Substantial Unemployment information for program year 2018 from Iowa Workforce Development.

Increased Reimbursement for Ambulance Services Passes Committee

The Local Government committee this week acted on House File 2103, a bill that would allow Iowa to tap into a federal fund meant to reimburse local EMS providers for services provided to Medicaid patients. The bill passed unanimously and will move to the House floor for full consideration.

Nearly 600,000 Iowans receive care through Iowa’s Medicaid pro-gram. When a Medicaid patient receives ambulance transport, the reimbursement rate for that provider through Medicaid is $121, far below the actual costs, sometimes which surpass $1000. This burden is borne by both ambulances that are owned and operated by cities and counties, and those owned and operated privately but
provide contracted services for some cities and counties. Enacting the bill will help provide relief for EMS providers around the state that are providing critical services to Iowa’s Medicaid population. And doing so quickly will help ensure Iowa is one of the first states to have access to this funding.

How Much Does it Cost to Clear Iowa Roads?

When you see a snowplow go by during a winter storm, do you ever wonder how much it costs to get Iowa’s roads back in good shape during and after a storm? If you’re a number cruncher or are just curious, you can see for yourself on a “Winter cost calculator” online tool developed by the Iowa Department of Transportation.

The tool was unveiled about a year ago. It lets users see the cost of material, labor, and equipment; pounds of salt applied; and labor hours expended for the previous 48 hours during winter weather road maintenance activities. Information can be found on the total cost of statewide cleanup efforts, or users can zoom to a specific area of the map to find costs associated with the area being displayed. Iowa’s seven largest metro areas are preloaded in a bookmarks tab for easy viewing. Bookmarks can also be set to locations of a user’s choice

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Posted by on Feb 9 2018. Filed under Local News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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