As we approach the beginning of the 2016 legislative session, Iowa sits on the brink of an education funding crisis. After promising to make Iowa schools the best in the nation, Governor Branstad and fellow Republicans have continued to fail our children and are robbing future generations of the quality education they deserve.
In January of 2015, Governor Branstad made a commitment to 2.45% increase in education funding for 2017. Now, after giving away millions of dollars in tax breaks to private corporations, Branstad is backpedaling on his promise telling the Cedar Rapids Gazette that he will have to wait to see if the budget will allow for a 2.45% increase to education funding. Too many Iowa schools are already running in the red, and Branstad’s willing to let them starve.
Reduced funding means larger class sizes and widening teacher to student ratios, which is not the recipe for a quality education. If funding continues to fall, Iowa’s students won’t get the individual attention they need to reach their full potential.
Iowa spends far less than the national average per student, with funding lagging behind the rest of the country. Our teachers are bearing the burden of educating our children with a bare bones budget. Some Iowa teachers are spending as much as $700 out of their own pockets for basic classroom necessities and resources.
For two years in a row, Iowa GOP leaders have underfunded more than 1500 Iowa Public schools and left teachers and administrators twisting in the wind amidst clouds of uncertainty. Iowa public schools cannot afford Branstad’s “wait to see” mentality and misplaced priorities.
Iowa’s students have a voracious appetite for learning, but we’re sending them to schools that are starving and lacking basic resources.