2022-23 Legislative Priorities

At the August 1, 2022 board meeting, Dr. Theron Schutte and the board explored the legislative priorities selected for the upcoming Iowa Legislative session. The selected priorities is sent to the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) and are used as a framework when speaking to area legislators. The following priorities were approved by the MCSD School Board:

Public Education

Public education is the foundation of our democratic society and the key to successful futures for Iowa children. Quality public schools strengthen our communities and are the cornerstone of any sound economic development policy.

  • The state must put public education first and provide sufficient funding and support services.
  • The state should provide full funding to public schools to meet the evolving needs of public school students before additional financial support of nonpublic schools is provided.
  • All schools that receive any public funds, including property taxes, state aid or federal monies, should be subject to the same governance and educational standards as public school districts.

School Funding Policy

Supports a school foundation formula that:

  • Provides sufficient and timely funding to meet education goals;
  • Equalizes per pupil funding for all program areas;
  • Equitably funds all Area Education Agencies;
  • Provides a funding mechanism for transportation costs that reduces the pressure on the general fund and addresses inequities between school districts;
  • Includes factors based on changes in demographics including socio-economic status, remedial programming, and enrollment challenges;
  • Reflects actual costs for special education services;
  • Incorporates categorical funding in the formula within three years; and
  • Includes a mix of state aid and property taxes.

Supplemental State Aid

Supports setting supplemental state aid:

  • At a rate that sufficiently supports local districts’ efforts to plan, create and sustain world-class schools;
  • For FY 2023, by January 28, 2023; and
  • For FY 2024 and future budget years, at least 14 months prior to the certification of the school’s district budgets.
  • Within the statutory requirements allows districts to make sound financial decisions on programs and staffing levels in order to provide the best possible education to all students.
  • By a formula driven method for establishing the supplemental state aid growth rate if it is not set within the statutory requirements.
  • That maintains an appropriate balance between using the state’s general fund and property tax revenue

Mental Health

Supports efforts to establish comprehensive community mental health systems to offer preventative and treatment services and comprehensive school mental health programs that include:

  • Increased access for in-school and telehealth services;
  • Increased access to mental health professionals via in-person or telehealth visits;
  • Creation of a categorical funding stream designated for mental health professionals serving students and ongoing teacher, administrator, and support staff mental health training;
  • Ongoing teacher, administrator, and support staff training to improve the awareness and understanding of child emotional and mental health needs;
  • Integration of suicide prevention and coping skills into existing curriculum;
  • Expanding state-funded loan forgiveness programs to include mental health professionals who agree to provide services to schools;
  • An ongoing mental health resources clearinghouse for schools and community providers; and
  • Trainings that include a referral plan for continuing action provided by mental health professionals outside of the school district.

Achievement Gap from Loss of In-Person Instruction

Supports additional resources to school districts and AEAs to:

  • Identify achievement gaps among individual students that have occurred as a result of health
  • pandemics or natural disaster breaks in instruction; and
  • Provide remediation for all students impacted negatively by loss of instruction due to health pandemics or natural disaster school closings.
  • Equitably distribute any state or federal funds to school districts and AEAs
  • Allow for maximum flexibility and local decision-making to spend funds to meet student and district needs.