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Legislature moves to aid some school district busing costs

February 23, 2018
By John Speer - Editor (jspeer@tamatoledonews.com) , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

While final passage by the Iowa Senate was awaited at News-Herald press deadline, it appears many primarily rural school districts in the state are expected to benefit from legislation which passed the Iowa house on Monday.

Upon adoption, Senate File 455 will assure no district spends more than $432 per pupil in annual transportation cost. A total of $11.2 million in state aid is earmarked to bring down the costs to some districts.

State Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Montour) lists Green Mountain-Garwin, North Tama, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, East and West Marshall, Belle Plaine, Benton and BCLUW?as among the 143 districts state-wide which will benefit.

Article Photos

State Rep. Dean Fisher
R-Montour

"This is a huge win for rural schools. The more dollars spent just to transport a student to the school means that much less money makes it into the classroom," said Fisher. "This additional funding will provide schools with much-needed relief and ensures that more funds are available for the classroom."

In Fisher's news release issued Monday, it is noted "some school districts spend as little as $100 per student while others spend nearly $1,000 per student."

The method to determine if a district qualifies for funding is based upon total school enrollment and total transportation costs.

Mary Boege, South Tama Schools business manager, provided The News-Herald with the district annual transportation report submitted to the Department of Education which showed STC spent $540 per student transporting an average of 1,234 students.

Fisher points out the formula used by the legislature was based upon the total number of students enrolled in a school, not just those transported. The South Tama enrollment totaled 1,565.

This results in a STC?cost of $426 per pupil, below the $432 threshold to qualify for added funding.

"If we calculate the average cost per student transported then the number could skew widely and not reflect the actual average cost per student in the school," Fisher told The News-Herald Wednesday.

"This new funding for transportation is in addition to the $32 million in supplemental state aid that was agreed to earlier this session," Fisher noted in the news release.

 
 

 

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