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Representative Tom Jeneary — January 27, 2020

Investing in K-12 Education

Early in the legislative session, discussions began on funding for K-12 education as part of the Supplemental State Aid (SSA) Package. Since 2011 when the Republicans gained the House Majority, investment in Iowa schools has increased by $863 million, or approximately 35%. While it is premature to predict what the final increase in funding will be, House Republicans are not looking at just the SSA number, but also transportation costs and per pupil funding that effect many school districts

Making Iowa Schools Safe

This week, Governor Reynolds announced plans to create a School Safety Bureau headed by the Department of Pubic Safety and Department of Education The Bureau will provide resources and work closely with Iowa’s school districts and law enforcement to keep students, faculty and staff safe. House Republicans appreciate the Governor’s attention to this important issue and look forward to working with her on it during the session. During previous sessions, House Republicans have worked hard to make school safety a priority. Here are some examples of legislation that House Republicans have passed to keep students, faculty and staff safe while at school:

Resources for Security Updates

In 2019, the Legislature passed an extension of the SAVE penny that is used for school infrastructure and property tax relief. As part of that legislation, House Republicans fought to ensure that school boards and administrators are able to use these resources for school safety measures and prioritizes upgrades like secure entrances, security cameras, and other safety enhancements.

Emergency Response Plans

In 2018, the Legislature passed legislation requiring schools to develop emergency response plans in coordination with local law enforcement. While most schools already had a strategy in place, some schools lacked a high-quality plan. This legislation also requires teachers to go through active shooter training once a year so that if a situation ever arose, schools and staff are prepared to respond.

Unprecedented Flexibility

Over the last several sessions, House Republicans have championed efforts to provide school districts with unprecedented flexibility over the funding they receive from the state. As part of these efforts, the House Republicans made it easier for schools to direct more resources towards hiring school security personnel. With greater flexibility, school boards now have t[he ability to address their own unique safety and security challenges in a way that best meets their district’s needs.

Preventing School Predators

In 2019, House Republicans also passed legislation that protects students from known predators in schools who move undetected from district to district by requiring administrators to report employee misconduct in a timely way.

House Republicans will continue to look for opportunities this session to ensure that safety of Iowa’s students, faculty, and staff while at school.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at tom.jeneary@legis.iowa.gov

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