Funding for our School
One of the most important ways that we can help our school succeed is with adequate funding.
We ask teachers to do more and more and then take away the vital resources that they need to meet our expectations.
School boards cannot directly make an influence on how a state funds education and we can’t keep our district attractive by raising property taxes, so we must learn to utilize new tools to make sure our district gets the funding it needs to educate students as best we can. Here are some of my ideas on how we can manage our school’s fiscal future.
· Get involved at the state level. Our district is funded jointly between local property tax and state funding, and so we don’t have total control over our own budget. What’s worse, our school district makes no effort to influence state funding in an official capacity, when it has the ability to do so. We must take an active role in the administration and funding of our schools. We can do this through the passage of non-binding resolutions calling for specific policy proposals, such as adequate state supplemental aid, and other initiatives.
· Review and Pass the Iowa Association of School Boards Legislative Priorities Agenda. The Iowa Association of School Boards takes a more active role in lobbying state government for funding, and we can empower our own board to take on a similar role by passing their legislative agenda. This agenda is a common sense call to action for education advocates everywhere, such as demanding that schools be fully funded by the state, calling for a aid model for transportation that does not take money away from instruction, and giving school districts more local control- because we know what’s best for I-35.
Public education is the foundation of our democratic society and the key to successful futures for Iowa children. Quality public schools are the cornerstone of any sound economic development policy. The state must put public education first and provide adequate funding and support services. -Iowa Association of School Boards Legislative Priorities Agenda
· Inform & Educate: School budgets are funded through obscure and often complicated means. However, they are not impossible to learn- and we should go to great lengths to break down the budget in easier to understand terms- be this through meetings, newsletters, or just simple explanation.
· Develop a plan here at home. Our school district should be meeting with our towns to advocate for better commercial development and housing options that make sense for young professionals. New housing opportunities will drive commercial growth (effectively lowering the property tax rate), attract & retain staff, and build a growing community.
· Stand firm in principle. No matter what other people say, education is something worth funding, and is an investment, not an expense. We must resist the urge to make easy cuts from our district budget- this means protecting the extracurricular and non-core classes that make our students some of the best in the state. We can do this through grant writing and private sponsorship- but if we do our jobs right, and we successfully lobby for adequate state funding, we should never need to worry about this.
Funding for our schools is unequivocally important- we must do more to make sure our schools get the resources they need, and these are just a few ways we can secure our fiscal future.