O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

Weekly Newsletter from Dan Huseman

 

February 28, 2019



February 21, 2019

The city of Des Moines dodged a bullet Tuesday night as the prediction of 9 inches of snow fizzled and we received more like 2 inches. That was okay with everyone I talked to, because in some areas, there is simply no place to pile up more snow. Des Moines has had record snowfall for February, and every time a snowplow comes by, the streets in the residential areasget narrower. There is enough traffic congestion around here in the first place, so snow certainly does not make life easier. Oh well, every day is different, and Des Moines is supposed to receive heavy rain this weekend. I wonder where all of that will end up?

The Governor signed the two K-12 education funding bills on Tuesday, which total about $90 million in new money. While some believe this is not enough, total spending on K-12 education has increased by $863 million over the past 9 years. There are several other education funding bills being debated, including the extension of the one cent sales tax for schools. I am confident that legislation will pass both the House and Senate soon.

There have been some school leaders who have asked if the Governor or the Department of Education would “pardon” or waive snow days. The answer is no. Neither has the authority to

forgive school days missed because of ice and snow. Snow and cold in Iowa are not new concepts so many school districts plan their calendars accordingly. They often build in extra days or hours

to ensure that should closures occur, they can still meet the minimum requirements of the law.

Although few enjoy extending the school year too far into June, students must be given the opportunity to complete the school year. There are several options available to make up missed hours or days, and it is up to local boards and administrators to figure out what is best for their students-and I am sure they will.

On Tuesday, House Majority Republicans released budget targets for FY 2020. The plan spends

$7.668 billion which is well below the 99% spending limitation. The proposal is about $9.5 million higher than the Governor recommended, but these numbers are close enough to each other that I do not anticipate a huge battle over spending. With the size of the pie determined, it now comes down to how big each slice will be. That will be determined by budget sub-committees. Also, a couple of nice things about this budget proposal is that there is enough money to fund priorities such as education, healthcare, public safety, job training and mental healthcare, and all reserve accounts will be filled, plus we will have a healthy ending balance of $298 million.

You may reach me at the Capitol during the week by phoning me at 515-281-3221, or home at 712-434-5880. You may write me at the State Capitol, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.

My home address is P. O. Box 398, Aurelia, Iowa 51005. If you have email, please contact me at dan.huseman@legis.iowa.gov.

 

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