The Iowa Senate has approved a four percent increase in state support for local schools during the 2013-14 school year--a move that is drawing the praise of Cresco State Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm.
"I support this increase in basic school funding because it will help local schools buy textbooks and computers, pay utility bills and hire teachers and other school employees. Supporting great local schools is something Iowans expect. The state budget has recovered to the point that we have a billion dollars in the bank. It is time that the state helps local schools recover as well."
The allowable growth formula was set at zero percent for the 2011-2012 school year and at two percent for the 2012-2013 school year. The four percent increase approved by the Senate equals the 40-year average increase.
Each 1 percent increase in the allowable growth formula costs the state around $31 million. Supporters of the bill argued that setting the rate at 4 percent would help make up for this year's zero percent allowable growth increase. The State of Iowa now has more than $1 billion in cash and emergency reserves, which supporters say means the state can handle the $120 million increase in state funding of education.