Iowa's 2015 Education Budget

Iowa's 2015 Education Budget is still not settled. As of June 5, 2015, the Iowa Legislature finally passed State Supplemental Growth for Iowa schools. We now await the governor's signature. Let's take a look at what they passed: State Supplement Growth at 1.25% SF 171 originated in the Senate on February 5, 23 days after the governor proposed a budget in his Condition of the State address. This falls within the 30 days required by law in Iowa Code 257 Section 8.1. The deadline for passing this legislations was February 12, 30 days after the governor proposed his budget. Amendments, discussions, messages, and votes appear along the history of this bill which continues well past the February 12th deadline. Most importantly, Amendment H-1009, adopted on February 24, changing state percent of growth to 1.25% from the Senate's original proposal of 4%. Finally, on June 5, the Senate passed the amended version of the bill 45-5 and the House passed it 53-36.

A similar procedure occurred for SF 172, establishing the categorical state supplemental growth at 1.25%. Amendment H-1010 made similar changes on February 24. On June 5, the Senate passed the amended version of the bill 46-4 and the House 53-36. Categorical state supplemental growth specifically funds:

  • Teacher Salary Supplements (Student Achievement/Teacher Quality/Teacher Compensation)

  • Professional Development Supplements (Student Achievement/Teacher Quality Professional Development)

  • Early Intervention Supplements (Early Intervention/Class Size Reduction)

  • Teacher Leadership

More information can be found in this November 2013 briefing from the Legislative Services Agency, a non-partisan agency that works for the Iowa legislature.

While the final versions of the bill are not yet available online, I find it interesting that both bills contain the following clause:

Sec. 2. CODE SECTION 257.8 —— IMPLEMENTATION. The requirement of section 257.8, subsection 2, regarding the enactment of bills establishing the categorical state percent of growth within thirty days of the submission in the year preceding the base year of the governor’s budget does not apply to this Act.

As part of the acts establishing state percentage of growth, the legislature exempts themselves from the law requiring passage within 30 days of the governor proposing the budget.

One-Time Funds of $55.7 million In HF 666 Section 11, the legislature appropriated $55.7 million from the general fund to the Department of Education. This money comes from the $724.7 million surplus the Legislative Services Agency projects for FY 2015. Of this $55.7M, $53,617,206 will be used "to provide a funding supplement to each school district." The amount given to each district will be equivalent to their percentage of the total state's enrollment.

Each school district’s funding supplement amount shall be equal to fifty-three million six hundred seventeen thousand two hundred six dollars multiplied by the quotient of the school district’s budget enrollment for the budget year beginning July 1, 2015, and ending June 30, 2016, divided by the statewide total budget enrollment for the budget year beginning July 1, 2015, and ending June 30,2016.

HF 666. Section 11.2.a.(2)

The remaining $2,082,794 will be used "to provide a funding supplement to each area education agency." It will be divided similarly based on each AEAs enrollment as a percentage of the total state's enrollment.

Supplement amounts received under this section are intended to be used by school districts to fund a budgetadjustment authorized under section 257.14 for the budget year beginning July 1, 2015, and ending June 30, 2016, and for instructional expenditures during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015, and ending June 30, 2016, and are intended to supplement, not supplant, existing school district funding for instructional expenditures.

HF 666. Section 11.3.a

The bill defines instructional expenditures as:

  1. Textbooks, as defined in section 301.1.

  2. Library books.

  3. Other instructional materials and equipment used directly by students.

  4. Transportation costs of the school district.

  5. Educational initiatives proven to increase student achievement in mathematics, literacy, or science in prekindergarten through grade twelve.


Burton Hable

Burton Hable is an instrumental music educator from Central Iowa. In 2013 he helped open Centennial High School in Ankeny, the first time in forty years that a school district in Iowa expanded to two high schools. He served there through 2018 as Assistant Director of Bands: conducting the 10th Grade Symphonic Band, directing the varsity Jazz Collective, co-directing the Centennial Marching and Pep Bands, teaching music theory, and providing individual and small group lessons to brass students in grades 6-12 at Prairie Ridge Middle School, Northview Middle School, and Centennial High School. During his tenure in Ankeny, enrollment in band grew from 450 to nearly 700, the jazz program expanded from four to seven ensembles, and ensembles under his direction were invited to perform at Iowa State University, Harper College, and the Veterans Day Parade in New York City.