DES MOINES, Iowa (KWWL) -- Governor Kim Reynolds has signed two bills into law, one that approves a 2.4% increase in funding for Iowa's K-12 schools, and another that approves spending $21 million from the state's general fund for new human resources, finance, and planning system for the state.
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The K-12 funding bill includes more than $36 million in funding for Iowa's more than 300 K-12 public school districts. The current $3.3 billion general-fund appropriation to fund elementary and secondary schools provides $7,048 per student in state supplemental aid to cover yearly instruction costs. The 2.4% increase, along with some additional funding approved, would increase the per-pupil funding to about $7,230 next fiscal year.
Democrats say the funding increase isn't enough, arguing unsuccessfully for a boost as large as 3.85%. say more funding is needed because they expect the large drop in enrollment this past school year to be temporary. Iowa saw a decline of approximately 5,935 students this school year, according to the Iowa Department of Education. Districts saw a combined 1.21% decline in certified enrollment, which the state uses to determine each district's funding. It was the first drop in certified enrollment in 10 years, and two-thirds of Iowa's public school districts lost students.
With the funding now signed into law, more than 130 Iowa school districts will receive less state funding than they did this year. Those districts will have to rely on a "budget guarantee" that supplements lower state aid with increased local property taxes in those districts.
“I am proud to once again sign legislation into law that supports our strong public education system in the state of Iowa. Our children are our greatest asset and we have to do everything we can to set them up for success. Our record of increasing school funding year-over-year shows our commitment to Iowa's public schools."Gov. Kim Reynolds
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This bill approves using $21 million from the state's general fund for new human resources, finance, and planning system for the state known as 'Workday.' It's the system Gov. Reynolds tried and failed to spend $21 million in federal CARES Act funding on. The error was found this fall following a review by the Treasury Department and Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand.
The Governor directed the Iowa Department of Management to return $21 million to Iowa’s Coronavirus Relief Fund back in December. After having multiple conversations with the Treasury Department last spring, Reynolds said she believed they had assurances the upgrade to Workday qualified as an allowable expense. The Department of the Treasury’s OIG affirmed its determination that payments for Workday were not allowable expenditures under the CARES Act.