From 2002 to 2012, education funding in Iowa was a tumultuous period. This is evidenced by numerous across the board cuts – which affected education and every other area of the budget – and moves by the legislature to underfund the state’s responsibility in the school funding formula. Over that decade it happened no less than 6 times with the capstone being the 2010 10% across-the-board cut.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this graph is worth $530 million dollars.
The result of increasing state spending to unsustainable levels and spending one-time money for ongoing expenses mixed with an economic collapse caused education funding in this state to take a $530 million loss in one single year. The state is still trying to recover from that loss. This is an example that the House looks to as we form our budgeting principles.
It was on this foundation that House Republicans and Governor Branstad begin their work in 2011 of stabilizing not only education funding but the entire budget, while at the same time providing unprecedented growth to school funding.
Over $450 million new state dollars have been appropriated to Iowa’s schools since Republicans gained control of the House and the Governor’s office. Some of these years have seen more growth than at any point in Iowa’s history.