Every year public schools in Iowa spend billions of dollars to educate children, sparking taxpayers to often ask school board members, administrators and lawmakers: “Where does that money go?” That’s why part of the IKM-ManningCommunity School District's mission is to help taxpayers understand how districts are spending that money, in an attempt to dispel the mysteries surrounding school funding.  Knowing how the state school funding formula works is important in helping understand the pressures we face as school superintendents and board members.

While the area of school finance is complex, some basic principles make it understandable to the average citizen, including: 

  1. The number of children enrolled in each district determines a district’s budget/revenues.
  2. The General Assembly through the finance formula “equalizes” funding statewide so the “cost per student” is roughly the same in every district and every student has access to quality education.
  3. The Governor recommends the annual change in per pupil allowable growth.  The    General Assembly is responsible for passing legislation to establish the annual increase in the “cost per student/allowable growth”.
  4. Property taxes matter. They determine how much money each district receives in state aid.
  5. Funds are restricted. We can only use funds on what the legislature tells us we can.
  6. Schools are budget limited. Most other public entities are property tax rate limited. This difference is monumental.
In an effort to explain where those tax dollars go I plan on presenting a number of articles to help you understand the area of school funding in Iowa. Please do not hesitate in asking questions on this subject.

I would like to congratulate the winners of the most recent board election. Dave Heller-District 2A, Scott Hodne-District 1A, and Lynn Barry-At Large will be serving 4 year terms.

My first “Coffee with Central Office” will be on October 5, in the Manilla Cafeteria starting at 9:30 a.m. This “Coffee” is an informal meeting with the general public to discuss and update our patrons on the IKM-Manning Schools.

Next week is Homecoming

Leave a Reply.