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How did public schools fare in the just-completed state legislative session?

Posted: Sun, May 13, 2018 4:49 PM

All in all, the 2018 legislative session in Iowa was not bad news for public schools in Iowa.

Decorah Superintendent Mike Haluska says in a year when money was tight, public education was one of the few areas of the state's budget to receive increases.  Not only that, but the legislature approved $14 million in spending towards transportation equity--a key issue for rural school districts with high transportation costs because of the area their buses must cover.  Legislators also promised to keep working on this issue.

The legislature also refused to approve a bill to limit school districts to just one bond election each year.  Legislators heard from school board members and superintendents concerned the impact this would have on their ability to properly plan budgets.

The biggest disappointment with the legislature was its failure to extend the state penny for school infrastructure. This bill passed the House on a 95-3 vote and was approved by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, but was not voted on by the full Senate.

Haluska will give Decorah School Board members a report on other legislative actions at the board's regular monthly meeting at 6:00 p.m. Monday.