In response to parent and community interest, Superintendent Dr. Art Tate has compiled a fact sheet regarding the history of state funding and the current debate over funding equity. See below:
1. Beginning in the mid-1970s an Iowa education funding formula set a cost per student which divided the state into two tiers of districts. There were 165 districts which had the value of students placed at a lower rate than over 170 other districts. The higher districts received more money per student because they had the resources to historically spend more funds for each student. This inequality in per student funding was never corrected and stands today.
2. Davenport Community Schools is a district that receives less per student funding. The difference in what DCS can spend for each student and what the highest district in the upper 178 districts is authorized to spend is $175.
3. If DCS had the authority to spend the additional $175 for each student, that would add another $3,200,000 per year to our budget.
4. Another three million dollars would enable the district to expand much needed programs in closing the achievement gap, improving student achievement, reducing suspensions and increasing the graduation rate.
5. Over 67% of DCS students qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program. Reducing the effects of poverty on education requires additional resources, and is one of the two priorities of the Davenport Board of Education.
6. In the last five years DCS has cut over $17,000,000 from the operating budget in order to not exceed the state authority to spend.
7. The district has over $29,000,000 in a cash reserve which can be used if the state provided authority to spend an additional $175 per student, which is equal to the highest spending districts in the state.
A full statement on this issue can be found by visiting the current Superintendent’s Message web page.