Education Committee – Week 5, 2021


SF 269 – Republican FY22 SSA/School Funding

SF 269 (SSB 1159) is the Senate Republican proposal for basic school funding for next year. They propose 2.2% State Supplemental Aid (SSA), which is an additional $155 per pupil over last year. Additionally, the bill increases the state cost per pupil equity by $15, which is an additional $8.7 million that goes to schools to close the gap between the state cost per pupil (SCPP) and a higher district cost per pupil (DCPP), which is covered by local property taxes. This brings the total increase to $170 per pupil over last year, for a total new state cost per pupil of $7,218. If a school district has the same or higher SCPP as their DCPP, this state funding translates to property tax relief. Under this proposal, 197 districts receive new funding for per-pupil equity, 25 districts will receive a combination of funding and property tax relief, and 105 districts will receive only property tax relief from per-pupil equity.

This bill has the state pay for the total cost of SSA and pick up the generated $11 million in property tax associated with 2.2% SSA. The total state funding for these three efforts is 30 million new dollars. Please note: while this bill does not cut the school aid formula for AEAs, it is expected that the Standings bill will cut state aid by an additional $15 million, bringing the real new total for schools down to $15 million for FY22 SSA.

The second part of this bill, which is outside of the basic school funding formula, addresses transportation equity for districts with higher than average transportation costs. The bill provides $750,000 in new money, which will buy every school district down to the statewide average this year. The transportation equity effort will now total $27.4 million, of which 218 districts are estimated to receive a payment from this fund. Going forward, this funding is linked to the rate of increase of SSA and grows accordingly (outside the funding formula).

The third part of this bill is a supplemental bonus: $30 million in one-time money for certain school districts for FY22. This funding will provide a $65 per-pupil bonus for school districts that have complied with the Governor’s executive orders and guidance during the 2020-2021 school year. In the Senate version, all districts except Des Moines would be eligible for this one-time payment.
[COMMITTEE 2/8: 10-5 (No: Democrats)] [FLOOR 2/9: 32-17 (Yes: Republicans, Bisignano; Excused: Nunn)]


SSB 1068– All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship drop out changes   

SSB 1068 allows a student in the All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship who must suspend enrollment due to a medical emergency, military deployment or other exceptional circumstances to continue to qualify for funding under the program upon re-enrollment.

The All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship provides financial need-based awards to students who attend an Iowa college or university within two years of completing a high school diploma. Students can continue to qualify for funding under the scholarship if they continuously receive the award over successive fall and spring semesters, although students who don’t re-enroll during a fall or spring semester after initially receiving the scholarship become ineligible in perpetuity. Such a break in receipt of the scholarship results in the student losing access to thousands of dollars in financial aid due, in some cases, to unforeseeable circumstances.
[2/8: Short Form]

SSB 1071– Calculation process for special education reporting

SSB 1071 aligns the current automated calculation process used by the Department of Education for school district special education reporting. Current statute relating to the funding for special programs includes an outdated calculation method, which required a manual calculation by districts. The current law methodology is based on the number of months children were enrolled in the district. The bill changes the calculation to be based on the number of days children are enrolled. The bill affects services to children living in shelter care, juvenile detention homes, certain residential treatment facilities, a psychiatric unit or institution, or in a child foster care facility or placement.
[2/8: Short Form]

SSB 1072 – Reporting requirements for school established 501(c)(3) entities

SSB 1072 removes certain reporting requirements for school established 501(c)(3) entities. A school district is required to annually report to the Department of Education and to their local community the administrative expenditures, revenues and activities of any 501(c)(3) they have established to support students/activities. Currently, the Department of Education is required to include a summary of all school districts’ 501(c)(3) information in their annual Condition of Education report. This bill strikes the requirement that the school district annually report to the Department of Education and no longer requires this information to be included in the Condition of Education report.
[2/8: Short Form]

SSB 1076– Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Program fund technical changes

SSB 1076 allows repayments received under the Teacher Shortage Forgivable Loan and unobligated funding in the Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Program fund to be deposited into the Teach Iowa Scholar Program fund for use under the program. Iowa Code Chapter 261 contains three separate forgivable loan and loan repayment programs for Iowans teaching in high-need fields: Teacher Shortage Forgivable Loan (261.111 – discontinued in 2007), Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Program (261.112 – discontinued in 2017; the final cohort of teachers received funding in FY20), and Teach Iowa Scholar Program (261.110 – received an annual appropriation of $400,000 since FY16). Funds remaining in the Teacher Shortage Forgivable Loan and Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Programs cannot be used to supplement awards under the Teach Iowa Scholar Program without statutory authority.
[2/8: Short Form]

SSB 1078 – Duties of the child development coordinating council

SSB 1078 proposes to delete two duties that are duplicative of other efforts in the statewide early childhood system. These changes were proposed at the request of the Child Development Coordinating Council. The committee adopted an amendment to correct the bill, striking Section 256A.3, subsections 4 and 7, which eliminates the list of duplicative recommendations.
[2/8: Short Form]

SSB 1133– IASB changes to school boards, AEAs, and district operations 

SSB 1133 is a combination of multiple requests from the Iowa Association of School Boards relating to duties of school districts. It contains these provisions:

  • Area Education Agencies (AEAs) Bid Threshold and Publication Notices: Replaces the current $25,000 threshold for requesting approval from the Department of Education (DE) before entering into a lease, purchase or lease-purchase agreement, and ties the amount to the competitive bid threshold. The cap has not changed since it was established in 1975. These sections also reduce the publication requirements for AEA budgets. The change would reduce their administrative costs from the current requirement that AEAs publish their budgets. 
  • Election of Board President, Closing Books: Allows the election of board president made in the prior year to extend up to 13 months until the regular school election is held in even numbered years. Under current law, a school board cannot close the books on their fiscal year until a board president is elected.
  • IASB Membership: Eliminates the requirement that school boards submit dues paid and benefits from membership in the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) to the Department of Education. However, the bill adds that a report the association is currently required to publish, which covers this information, must be submitted to the DE.
  • Schoolhouses and Site Sold, and Proceeds: Allows a school district to deposit proceeds from the sale of a building into any account after publishing notice and holding a public hearing. This provides districts with more flexibility for using funds from the sale of property. The notice and hearing requirements are consistent with those required for municipalities.
  • Equipment Purchases Newspaper Notices: Strikes the Code provision requiring school boards to publish a notice in the newspaper before entering into a loan agreement for an equipment purchase. The IASB claims that boards already must notice their agendas and action items so this is duplicative.
  • Directors – Powers and Duties: Eliminates a duplicative reporting requirement on community strategies for early literacy. The bill amends the teaching strategies of the gold early childhood assessment to every resident pre-k or four-year-old enrolled in a school district, and a universal screening instrument to kindergarten students enrolled in the district.
  • Schoolhouses and Sites Sold: Allows a district to deposit proceeds from the sale or disposition of real estate into any account after publishing notice and holding a public hearing. Currently, a public hearing is required on a proposal to sell, lease, etc. The bill also increases from $5,000 to $25,000 the bid threshold to determine when a school district must publish a notice of their intent to sell or dispose of non-real property. 
  • Eliminates the Energy Audit Requirement: Eliminates the requirement that districts submit energy audits every five years to the Economic Development Authority. IASB claims that districts are always reviewing their energy costs and looking for ways to economize.[2/8: Short Form]