Legislative Advocacy Committee

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On February 10, 2014 the Davenport School Board Approved the following resolution:

RESOLUTION OF THE DAVENPORT COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

BOARD OF EDUCATION

CONCERNING 2015-2016 FUNDING FOR PK-12 PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WHEREAS, the goal of all Iowans is to provide the quality of education for our children that encourages them to become life­-long learners and enables them to achieve their utmost dreams.

WHEREAS:

Existing Iowa law signed by Governor Branstad and unanimously passed by the House and Senate in 1995,              provides that the legislature should take action on the funding growth rate for schools 18 months in       advance, specifically, within 30 days of the Governor’s budget delivery (14 January 2014).

On-time funding is important because school district budgets must be approved and certified by April 15,    collective bargaining agreements must be negotiated and staffing and program decisions need to be made. Unless the legislature acts promptly, districts must assume the worst, which can include staff and program  reductions.

Iowa spends $1,514 less per student that the national average, ranking us 37th, down six ranks from the previous year’s 31st ranking.

We appreciate the $150M directed towards the Teacher Leadership Compensation System; however, it does not allow districts to   address basic programs, utilities, transportation, negotiated teacher pay increases,  and mandates such as implementation of the Iowa Core.

Our Unspent Balance is at a critical level and in order to insure accountability the board has set a goal of     making $3.1M in budget reductions over a 3 year period.  We cannot close any more school buildings so     the impact will largely impact staff and classroom instruction.

The ongoing reallocation of school funding to pay for essential functions is not sustainable.  Teacher pay   cannot keep pace.  Quality professional development for teachers, curriculum, advanced high school opportunities and technology will all continue to fall behind.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Davenport Community School District Board of Education affirms the criticality of school funding beginning in FY 2015.  We hereby entreat the state to support the level of public educational infrastructure support to achieve our common goal of student success as follows:

A.  Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, fund Iowa school districts at a realized 6% Supplemental State Aid to ensure that districts like Davenport with declining enrollment see at least a 6% increase in budget. 

B.  Initiate a strategic multiyear plan to achieve per pupil funding at least at the national average which would take the equivalent of a realized 16% Allowable Growth in FY2014 dollars.

The foregoing Resolution was passed and adopted by the Davenport Community School District Board at a regular meeting, held on the February 10th, 2014.

 

Our Goals:

  • Adequate public school fundings
  • Quality classroom experiences

Our Vision:

Effecitive coalition-building and communication with state and federal legislators will empower all levels of government to elevate student success.

Our History

In 2004 the Davenport Community School Board approved the creation of the Legislative Advocacy Committee as a standing committee of the board. The board realized that in order to be effective advocates for public school education it was necessary to engage the larger community in advocacy efforts.

Our earliest efforts revolved around getting students involved in advocacy. We began by sponsoring school bus trips to Des-Moines during the legislative session to allow our students to engage local legislators in the context of the place where our state laws are created. We have done this annually (with the exception of a weather cancellation in 2008).

Our committee recognizes the important role we have in advocating for Davenport Community Students, however; we believe advocacy is most effective with state legislators when we are able to frame our message around all Iowa public school students.

Our Purpose

Our purpose is threefold:

  1. Constituency Development: This gets back to the original reason for creation of the committee. The board realized that while they are elected to assure that the needs of our public school students is addressed, our message to local legislators were very predictable and had limited impact. Our primary goal therefore has been to engage other constituencies within our community and to help them find their voice for advocacy. We continually focus our efforts on students, however; we have also worked with early education advocates and teachers. Early education members continue to serve an effective advocacy role outside the Legislative Advocacy Committee.A huge aspect of constituency development is simply the building of relationships. Not only is the board’s relationship with the community enhanced but also the open engagement with state legislators has opened up communication channels that allow for the free flow of ideas and questions.
  2. Public Education: In order for constituent members to have an effective role in advocacy they need to be able to understand legislation and the process by which bills become law. The committee holds various functions during the year such as legislator socials, candidate forums, and Scott County school board forums. We are currently planning a School Finance Course for legislators and interested public.
  3. Legislation: The board looks to the committee for guidance on specific legislation being considered. Additionally the committee offers resolutions and positions they believe the board should consider. The committee works closely with the Superintendent on issues of specific legislation to assure that the district is speaking with a unified voice.

Membership

Members for the 2014-15 School Year

  • Richard Clewell (Chair) 
  • Ralph Johanson
  • Ken Krumwiede
  • Rachael Steiner
  • Guy Heller
  • Dawn Saul
  • Ellen Reilly
  • Mike Ross

Links

Contact our Board Secretary\Treasurer for any questions you might have. Ms. Mary Correthers, 563.336.5087 or correthersm@mail.davenport.k12.ia.us.