This page is your home for all things legislative and advocacy related. We have an update from our lobbyist at the Capitol each week, summaries of important bills, and then steps for you to get involved!
Week two is under our belt and what a week it has been. The governor introduced a 50+ page education omnibus bill, including proposals that allow the use of public taxpayer dollars for private school vouchers and private charter schools. Read our summary of SSB 1065. This bill will move through the Senate at warp speed but likely encounter a slower path in the House.
Leadership from the House and Senate continue to work toward an agreement on SSA and hope to announce that early next week. It will include more money than proposed by Governor Reynolds, but how that money will be distributed between the supplemental state aid rate, transportation and district cost per pupil equity and covering costs incurred by districts for in-person instruction is not clear at this point.
In-person instruction legislation is also going to move quickly. In essence, bills in the House (HF 103) and Senate (SSB 1064) will require districts to offer a 100% in-person instruction opportunity to parents. This will become law. Under the Senate bill, districts will have approximately two weeks from enactment to provide this option. 74% of public school districts are currently providing 100% in person instruction. The remainder (84 districts) are not and are operating under either a hybrid model, a remote model, or a combination of in-person and virtual.
Board members and administrators in those 84 districts should start planning now to move toward 100% in-person instruction. The final product (note the House and Senate bills are different) will include language that does not allow a district to count any time that is not 100% in-person toward instructional time. This means a district could be forced to make that time up or be out of compliance with the law.
Board members who are represented by Republican senators should immediately contact them and ask them to oppose SSB 1650. Go to our Vouchers Toolkit to get updated information, charts and graphics to share on social media. Please check back frequently as this will be updated regularly.
When speaking with your legislators, use these talking points:
COVID-19 has changed how we lobby at the Capitol. Your voice is more important than ever. You can find contact information for your legislators here: Legislator Look-Up. Your voice will make a difference!
IASB Summary of COVID Relief Package Funding: Read a summary of the recently passed and signed relief package, which includes $54.3 billion for K-12 education.
Although we can't gather together at the Capitol, we still want you to be able to effectively lobby your legislators as a powerful group. We invite you to join us for Virtual Lobby Days throughout the legislative session. The next lobby day is February 4 and does not require registration. It is simply a day designated for you to reach out to your legislator via email or phone on a certain topic. Watch your email for information!
Our next virtual lobby day will center around COVID-19 remediation for student achievement.
2021 Legislative Guide
We are better together—a stronger voice in advocating for the needs of Iowa students and public education. This process consists of building relationships, telling the story of public education and brushing up on key legislative issues for 2021. As we continue to weather the effects of COVID-19, IASB will push for additional resources to help get students back on track, reliable and on-time funding, supports for mental health resources in schools, and ensuring preschool is funded so all 4 and 5-year-olds have access to crucial early education.
This advocacy guide includes background information on key issues, an in-depth look at issues for the 2021 legislative session, talking points and tips for you to use with legislators, and IASB resources that will help you advocate on behalf of your district.
View Advocacy Guide