As kids head back to class this week, many will be walking into classrooms with more students and fewer resources than ever before.
According to the Des Moines Register, schools needed a 3% increase in funding to maintain the same level of service they provided in 2016, but Governor Reynolds only produced a “miserable” 1.1 percent increase in K-12 funding for the 2017 – 2018 school year.
“It’s completely irresponsible what Governor Reynolds has done with the education budget. Now more than ever we should be investing in our schools to keep working families here and protect Iowa’s economy,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price. “If we want a brighter future for our kids, we can’t keep asking teachers to do more with less.”
Unfortunately, under Kim Reynolds’ leadership, the future of our schools is more uncertain than ever.
Reynolds’ inability to fund our education system has resulted in deep cuts to our local Iowa schools. According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, “The 1.1 percent increase in basic state aid approved for K-12 districts next school year is paltry by historic standards and just half what Gov. Terry Branstad proposed.”
A Quad-City Times editorial called the move a “laughably insufficient 1.1 percent boost in total education funding, which amounts to a cut when inflation is considered.”
Marion parent Mark Bussell told Iowa Public Radio “The proposed budget increase of 1.11 percent is not in the best interests of our students… Does this budget make the grade? No. It seems obvious that our educators and our students will suffer because of these actions taken by our state legislature.’”
This summer, third graders across Iowa were supposed to participate in a critical reading program. Without the program, more than 9,000 Iowa third graders risked being held back due to reading deficiencies.
Due to Governor Reynolds’ budget crisis, the program was defunded and cancelled.
The Iowa Board of Education warned that lack of funding could be a “disaster” for the future of Iowa’s third graders, as some studies show that third graders who struggle in reading are more likely to drop out of school in the future.
A Des Moines Register editorial said that officials who killed the summer reading program “failed 9,000 Iowa kids.”