New bill looks to help districts combat sky high transportation - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New bill looks to help districts combat sky high transportation costs

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DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

A bill passed by the Iowa House and now onto the Senate looks to help some school districts offset the costs of transportation.

Districts like Western Dubuque would benefit from the more than $11 million set aside by lawmakers for the bill.

At 550 square miles, Western Dubuque is the biggest school district in the state.

They use about nine to ten percent of their budget on transportation--about double of what most districts spend, Superintendent Rick Colpitts said.

In all, they spend more than $600 per student on transportation.

So a bill that would give the more than $500,000 has them excited, but cautious.

"Well we're really excited about the potential, but it's one of those things, you want to get excited and you want to continue to talk to the legislators and say, continue to promote this, this is really good for those districts that spend a lot in transportation. But we're not spending it yet," Colpitts said.

If the Senate does pass the bill, and it's signed by the governor, Colpitts says they already have a plan for the money.

"We have a large curriculum adoption coming up with language arts, which would be a K-8 initiative, it actually spills over to the high schools as well. That is a large outlay of money for us and we'd be able to earmark a large part of that money for that, which would be great," he said.

A similar bill was passed by the Senate last year.

If passed, the  money would be available for this upcoming fiscal year, which starts in July.  It's a one-year only fund.

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