Feb 06, 2019
GWAEA and Local Superintendents Campaign for State Support
Legislative Advocacy Day, Feb. 5, 2019 with John Speer, GWAEA chief administrator,
Rep. Ashley Hinson (House District 67) and Brad Buck, superintendent, Cedar Rapids School District.
More than 100 superintendents, many of whom were from the Grant Wood AEA service area, combined forces in Des Moines Tuesday morning to rally for legislative support for education.
“This event provides an important opportunity for school leaders to have productive conversations with our elected officials about the local impact of diminished funding and what's needed to maintain quality programming for all of Iowa's students,” shared Dr. Tom Lane, Executive Director of Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs). The AEA system coordinated the event at the Capitol. “Our district and AEA leadership understand our responsibility to speak on behalf of all the students and families that we serve," he added.
Representatives from every AEA and about 100 school districts across the state spoke with legislators about the demands of public education. Grant Wood AEA superintendents in attendance included Alburnett, Anamosa, Belle Plaine, Benton, Cedar Rapids, College, CPU, HLV, Iowa City, Lisbon, Marion, Midland, North Cedar, North Linn, Springville, Tipton, Vinton-Shellsburg, and Washington.
Some districts talked about the extension of the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) tax, while others asked for additional state policy that provides resources for school districts to use to address the complex issues of student suicide and other serious mental health-related issues. Unilaterally, the districts requested an increase in State Supplemental Aid (SSA) that provides adequate resources for students and teachers, is timely and equitable, and takes into account overall state revenue growth. Additionally, school leaders discussed the need for legislation to address the inequities of transportation costs for school districts with higher than average costs.
“Nearly every school leader we talk to shares the struggles that teachers are having with the mental health needs of their students,” added Lane. “Iowa’s AEAs are uniquely positioned to help districts with this need, and we are encouraged by conversations with our legislators and school districts to develop solutions for both urban and rural districts.”
Grant Wood AEA Chief Administrator John Speer agreed. "We have several initiatives in the works to support our districts and their most challenging students. We look forward to expanding on the pilot initiatives already underway in some of our districts, and we're eager to help share information about these efforts with legislators."
“Today was a great day for united outreach, with educators from both rural and urban districts across the state. We look forward to working closely with our legislators to help them understand the impact of their decisions on the families and children in their respective districts,” said Lane.