Governor Chet Culver's office says the state is increasing its commitment to local school districts in the upcoming budget. Education officials say funding is decreasing. The disagreement about school funding comes down to how the figures are examined.
The State of Iowa will spend $2.35 billion on school foundation aid in the current fiscal year, which includes federal stimulus money. The governor has proposed to spend $2.49 billion on school foundation aid for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1st. That's an increase of $145 million.
But the "increase" is figured from a figure that starts after Culver cut funding across-the-board by 10 percent last fall. Restoring the money cut last fall and paying for the 2 percent allowable growth for next year approved by the state legislature would require a budget of $2.67 billion, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency. That's a shortfall of $167 million.
Governor Culver's office says the Decorah School District will receive $6,603,931 in school foundation aid for fiscal year 2011. The governor's office says that's an increase of $920,398 from this year. But the Legislative Services Agency says if you go back to before last fall's 10 percent across-the-board cut, the school foundation aid to Decorah will increase $238,436 to Decorah.