Proposed law could change schools' transportation funding - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Proposed law could change schools' transportation funding

Posted: Updated:

Iowa Association of School Board members are hoping the House approves a measure to keep state money in classrooms.

Senate File 455 would create a 10-year plan to put per-student costs at the same level across the state for every district.

It would also change the funding formula for how money is allocated to districts, based on their transportation costs and route distances.

The proposed measure sits in the House Appropriations Committee after it was unanimously approved by the Senate this spring.

As the law stands, Iowa school districts receive money from the state based on student enrollment.

As we earlier compared two districts with similar enrollment numbers, the Western Dubuque School District covers five counties compared to Urbandale's one.

Urbandale's district is also geographically six-square miles compared to Western Dubuque's nearly 550-square miles.

According to public record, it costs Western Dubuque more than $1,800,000 to get students to and from school, and Urbandale's district is nearly $700,000.

That's more than $1,000,000 Western Dubuque has to pay more in transportation costs instead of spending money on resources like books and computers.

Since that inequality affects many districts, the Iowa Association of School Boards group proposed Senate File 455.

"So, what this proposal does is create a weighting within the school-aid formula that generates funding for school districts based on their transportation costs. So, again if the district does have a higher transportation cost, that supplementary weighting is going to be a higher level, and it's going to generate more funding for those districts," Finance Director Shawn Snyder said.

Snyder said the proposed law will continue distributing money based on enrollment, but it will also be based on transportation costs and miles covered.

"It's going to be the larger districts that have the more bus routes that have to travel a lot farther, and obviously the transportation costs are going to be significantly higher than smaller districts that don't have as far to travel," Snyder said.

If approved by the House, Senate File 455 would go to the governor's desk.

People drafting the bill said they're optimistic it will help evenly distribute state money among the districts.

If you'd like to review the initial report, you can click here.   

Powered by Frankly