We support providing the flexibility to expand educational opportunities and choices for students and families. In so doing, the educational options must remain under the sole authority of locally elected school boards charged with representing community interests and accountability.
We oppose the use of additional taxpayer funds for the creation of vouchers or educational savings accounts or an increase in tax credits or deductions directed toward non-public schools.
2. STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH
We support efforts to establish comprehensive community mental health systems. These systems will be designed to offer both preventative and treatment services and comprehensive mental health programs that include in-school access for students to mental health professionals and provisions for reimbursement by Medicaid and private insurers.
We also support additional ongoing teacher, administrator, and support staff training to improve the awareness and understanding of child emotional and mental health needs.
It is also the case that additional funding will be necessary to bring this priority into full form. We are supportive of funding models that expand dollars to further bolster the mental health system.
Setting Supplemental State Aid (SSA) within the statutory requirements allows districts to make sound financial decisions. We support setting SSA:
- For FY 2023, within the first 30 days of the Governor’s budget announcement;
- For FY 2024 and future budget years, at least 14 months prior to the certification of the school’s district budgets; and
- At a rate that sufficiently supports local districts’ efforts to plan, create and sustain world-class schools.
We also support a formula-driven method, which includes indicators of economic growth, for establishing the SSA growth rate if it is not set within the statutory requirements.
4. LOCAL ACCOUNTABILITY
A firmly held belief in the Waukee CSD is that the solution to problems, as well as the advancement of opportunities, are likely to be the most effective at the level closest to the problem or opportunity. This belief also applies to the important work of local school boards. We believe that local decision-making, coupled with local accountability, is the most appropriate environment for nurturing high-quality school systems.