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Capitol Update - February 11, 2022

UEN Legislative Update
Feb. 11, 2022

Week Five of the 2022 Session: House passes School Funding, Teacher Recruitment Bills Progress, Parents Rights and Obscenity Regulations Moving. This UEN Weekly Report from the 2022 Legislative Session includes:

  • Funnel Deadline Looming
  • Status of School Funding/SSA Proposals
  • School Choice Still in Senate Education Committee
  • Teacher Recruitment Bills Progress
  • Parents’ Rights Bill on Senate Calendar
  • Obscenity Civil Actions in Judiciary Committee
  • Bills Receiving Committee and Subcommittee Action
  • Bills Introduced
  • Advocacy Action Steps for This Week
  • Links to Advocacy Resources
  • Members of the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees

Funnel Deadline Looming: Friday, Feb. 18 is the next funnel deadline. Bills must be approved by a committee in their chamber of origin to move on (House bills out of a House Committee, and vice versa.) Appropriations, Ways and Means and Leadership bills are exempt from funnel deadlines. We expect many bills we are following to become victims of the funnel. Until then, these weekly reports are still pretty long, as many bills are just receiving subcommittee consideration on a fast track. Remember that bill language can be added to an appropriations bill or amended onto another bill along the way, so this deadline is not an absolute guarantee that an idea won’t move forward.

Update on School Funding SSA: The House passed their school funding bills, HF 2315 Supplemental Funding and HF 2316 State Supplementary Assistance (SSA), on Thursday evening, sending them to the Senate. The Senate has their proposal, SF 2204 SSA, on the Senate Debate Calendar ready for discussion but adjourned Thursday morning without taking it up for consideration. The earliest they could debate the proposal is Monday. This charts compares the various details of the proposals:


Governor’s Recommendation


SF 2204

House HF 2316

and HF 2315*

Percentage Increase per Pupil




Prior Year per Pupil

  $   7,227

  $   7,227

  $   7,227

Per Pupil Growth

  $    163

  $    163

  $    181

Per Pupil Formula Equity


  $     10

  $      5

One Time Supplement



  $     40*

Per Pupil incl. Fixed Dollars

  $    163

  $    173

  $    226

Effective SSA Rate






$2.0 million

$2.0 million

* $40 per pupil is the distribution of $19.2 million in HF 2315 Supplemental funding, which is miscellaneous income and required to be spent in the 2022-23 school year for the increased cost of employing para-educators, substitute teachers, bus drivers, and administrative and support staff due to worker shortages, and other increased costs incurred by the school district resulting from goods and services price inflation.

The Transportation funding, included in HF 2316 SSA, also increases by $2.0 million, up to $29.5 million, a 7.28% increase. (In House and Senate proposals, but not recommended by the Governor.)

The House and Governor have the high mark on SSA, so advocate with your legislators and encourage the Senate to match 2.5%. Thank both for the transportation equity funding and encourage the Senate to hold firm on $10 per pupil in formula equity. Although we would prefer the $19.2 million in the formula as additional SSA, we support HF 2315 and encourage the Senate to agree.

See the UEN Issue Brief Adequate School Funding, which has additional school funding talking points and comparisons to economic measures you can share with your legislators. Ask senators what economic measure they are using to determine that school funding is adequate. If it’s simply the increase in state funding, or percentage of the state budget that is PK-12 education, those two metrics do not account for the property tax relief delivered through the formula. This lack of adjustment explains why SSA has averaged 1.7% since 2018 while the state’s contribution to the formula has gone up significantly more. This chart looks back even further, to FY 2012:


Total GF Approps (in Billions)


State School Aid Appropriations (in Billions)


State Cost per Pupil Increase (SSA)

FY 2012





 $      5,883

FY 2021





 $      7,227

$ Change





 $      1,344

% Change












Average Annual Increase (9 years)






(SCPP increase also includes formula equity investments, so not all districts experienced the 23% increase since 2012.)


Source data:

Additional measures from the UEN Issue Brief:

    • Iowa slipped to 30th in per pupil public elementary and secondary school system expenditures, which is $1,280 below the national average. The national average is $13,187 per pupil expenditures with Iowa at $11,197.
    • Since 2014, Iowa elementary and secondary education spending has increased 11.6%, while the national average increase has been 19.9%. In the Midwest region, Iowa grew more slowly than all states except Nebraska.
    • Iowa ranks 40th nationally in the per pupil expenditure increase since 2014.

Use evidence that proves your funding is not adequate: fewer or no applicants for needed positions to serve students, increasing costs of supplies and curriculum, increasing natural gas and fuel prices, programs needed for students that cannot be provided or were recently cut, increased needs of students such as mental health.


School Choice Status:

The Governor’s School Choice Omnibus bill, SSB 3080, is still in the Senate Education Committee and must be approved next week to survive the Feb. 18 funnel deadline. See the bill description in last week’s report. The House introduced bills on Thursday for several parts of the Governor’s bill. HSB 705 includes provisions changing special education for students in competent private instruction (CPI home school) and HSB 706 includes the Governor’s Transparency provisions and social studies changes. See those bill descriptions below. The House introduced a bill identical to the Governor’s school choice bill in the senate, HSB 672, which includes the voucher provisions of the Governor’s plan.

See the UEN Issue Brief on School Choice, which has additional information about Iowa’s current school choice options and explains how vouchers have not netted positive results across the nation. UEN is registered opposed to this bill.


Teacher Recruitment Bills in the House and Senate:

SF 2202 Teacher Recruitment: was approved unanimously by the Senate Education Committee and is now in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. See Senate Ways and Means Committee members below. UEN is registered in support.

  • Teach Iowa Scholar Loans: requires that half of Teach Iowa Scholar loan forgiveness grants be offered to teachers in school districts, charter schools or private schools with more than 1,200 and half in those with less than 1,200 students enrolled. Allows more in one category if there are insufficient applicants in the other. Allows teachers from other states entering Iowa to be eligible for loan forgiveness if they provide a copy of an offer of employment from a school in Iowa.
  • Nontraditional Preparation Program Requirements: requires BOEE to adopt rules. Allows a teacher intern license for teaching grades 6-12 to an applicant in a nontraditional program while the applicant completes the additional education requirements including: 1) must have graduated from an accredited college/university, 2) have at least 3 years of post BA work experience, 3) submit with the application a copy of an offer to work in an Iowa school. Before applying for their initial license, the applicant granted a teacher intern license must work under the supervision of a teacher coach or a mentor assigned by the district/nonpublic school and must complete an additional 15 hours of in-person coursework. If the school recommends the individual who has completed these requirements, they may apply for an initial teaching license.
  • CTE Authorization: requires BOEE to adopt rules allowing an individual seeking a CTE secondary authorization to apply and, if eligible, be issued the authorization prior to accepting an offer of employment with a school.
  • Early Retirement and Teacher Recruitment from Management Fund: allows a school board to adopt a teacher recruitment program and include in the management levy an amount to pay the total estimated accumulated cost of the program. Requires the board to discuss either an early retirement program or a teacher recruitment program funded by management fund at a regular or special meeting prior to adopting the program. Requires the board to allow time for public comment on the program. Requires the board to allow each interested member of the public to speak regarding the program but may impose a time limit on individual comments if universally applied and required due to a large number of people wishing to speak. Prohibits the board from using the management fund for both purposes in the same budget. Prohibits the board from adopting either program for two years after using the management fund for the other program.

HF 2253 Teacher Recruitment Incentives: was unanimously approved by the Subcommittee members with amendment. The amendment is expected to conform to the Senate’s language (description above.) UEN is registered in support of HF 2253 if amended as expected. This bill will have to be approved in the House Education Committee next week to survive the funnel on the House side.

SF 2205 Parents’ Rights Bill in the Senate: now on the Senate Calendar, specifies rights parents have to know, access, and review many things about their child in school. The bill also lays out requirements for written parental approval prior to a student accessing sexually explicit material in school. See the complete bill description in last week’s report. UEN is registered as undecided on the bill.

SF 2198 Obscene Materials at School: was considered in a subcommittee Thursday that moved the bill forward 2:1 on party lines. Requires schools designate an administrator to ensure that no obscene material or hard-core pornography is in school libraries. Also obscenity is already defined in Iowa Code 728.1, this bill adds a new more explicit definition of hard-core pornography by creating a new code section 718.1 (1A). Uses an average adult standard to interpret the material:

 “which the average adult taking the material as a whole in applying statewide contemporary community standards would find appeals to the prurient interest; and which material, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, scientific, political, or artistic value.”

Prohibits an administrator from knowingly giving a student obscene material or a teacher from knowingly assigning obscene material. Makes violations a serious misdemeanor. Allows parents to seek injunctive relief, with civil penalties assessed against the school. Requires a county attorney to bring criminal charges against the teacher/administrator if the parent prevails and establishes a civil cause for damages against a county attorney who fails to do so. Also requires the county attorney to file criminal charges if any person submits evidence of probable cause that a violation has occurred. Allows a parent to sue the county attorney if the attorney fails to file criminal charges within 60 days. The bill moves to the Senate Judiciary Committee. UEN is registered opposed.


Chamber Action:

SF 2197 Special Education Services in Private Schools: Requires the DE to convene a workgroup to study the provision of special education services to students with IEPs enrolled in private schools. The bill states members of the task force and requires the tax force to make recommendations and submit a report by Dec. 1, 2022. UEN is registered as undecided. Approved in the Senate 46:0 and assigned to House Education Committee.

HF 2315 FY 2022 School Supplemental: Appropriates $19.2 million in FY 2022 to the DE to make supplemental payments to schools for the FY 2022-23 school year, employing para-educators, substitute teachers, bus drivers, and administrative and support staff due to worker shortages, and other increased costs incurred by the school district resulting from goods and services price inflation. Bases the payment on school enrollment. The House passed the bill 94-1 with Rep Shipley voting opposed; it now goes to the Senate. UEN is registered in support of this bill.

HF 2316 2.5% SSA: Sets the SSA per pupil increase at 2.5%. For the school year 2022-23, makes the regular program per-pupil cost equal the regular program cost plus the supplemental and $5. Makes the appropriation for transportation equity equal to the amount needed to fully fund transportation equity payments. Continues the property tax replacement formula. The bill was amended to notwithstand the Iowa Code requirement that SSA be set within 30 days of the release of the Governor’s Budget. That deadline would have been Feb. 11. The bill passed the House 57:39 and moves to the Senate. UEN is registered as undecided. Although the SSA bill and Supplemental bill combined fall short of the UEN’s request for 5% SSA, this is the highest proposal at the Statehouse this year.


House Committee Action:

HSB 665 Electronic Bids: allows governments to accept electronic bids for public improvements. Passed by the House Local Government Committee 19:0. UEN is registered in support.

HF 2317 House Tax Plan (Ways & Means; Successor to HSB 626) Income Tax: Phases in the flat tax from 2023 to 2025. Reduces the number of brackets and rates until reaching 4% on all taxable income in the tax year 2026 and after. Retirement income: Increases the retirement income exclusion to cover all income. Does not use such excluded income in calculations to determine net income. Capital Gains: Allows an employee-owner to take a one-time irrevocable election to exclude the capital gain from the sale of stock from the income tax. Requires the corporation to have employed Iowans for at least ten years, to have had specific numbers of shareholders and meet other requirements. Phases in the provisions over three years. Farmers: Excludes payments for leased farmland to retired farmers. Requires the farmer to be 55, to no longer be farming and for the farmer to have farmed the land for at least ten years. Expands the capital gains exclusion for farmers to include retired farmers, and exclude the sale of cattle and horses and for breeding livestock. See SF 2206. There is a fiscal note published, showing the reduction in state general fund associated with this bill. The following table is from the fiscal note, showing a net revenue reduction to the state of $1.6 billion annually by 2028 and a reduction of $5.6 million in school local option income surtax. UEN is registered opposed.



Senate Committee Action:

SF 2170 IPERS Retirement/School Contracts: allows a retired IPERS recipient to work for a school and earn $50,000 before any financial implications impacting IPERS income. The current limit is $30,000.  UEN is registered in support. The bill was approved by the Senate State Government Committee and moves forward to the Senate Calendar.

SF 2203 School Board Meetings: requires a quorum of school board members in person at the meeting location and allows school board members to attend remotely only if sick or injured. Also requires all board members, including the president to cast a vote aye or nay on every voting issue before the board (abstention is allowed and consider a nay vote.) The Subcommittee recommended passage but would entertain amendments to make this workable. UEN is registered opposed.


House Subcommittee Action:

HF 2117 Cameras in Classrooms: required live stream video feed in classrooms. The Subcommittee met and decided not to the move the bill forward to the full Committee. UEN is registered opposed.

HF 2139 High School Sports Transfer Period: specifies that the waiting period for participating in High School sports after open enrolling to another school is 90 calendar days rather than 90 school days. The Subcommittee recommended the bill move forward to the full Education Committee 2:0. UEN is registered as undecided.

HF 2253 Teacher Recruitment incentives: see description above. The Subcommittee recommended amendment and passage in the full House Education Committee. With the amendment, UEN will be registered in support.

HF 2254 Online Learning: allows school boards to provide up to 5 consecutive days of online learning and no more than 10 days. Any additional online learning days could be approved by the DE, but this prohibited them from counting toward minimum learning requirements. UEN is registered in support. The Subcommittee indefinitely tabled the bill, not moving it forward 2:0

HF 2264 Radon Testing and Mitigation: requires school boards to conduct a short-term test (2 to 7-day test) for radon in school buildings at least once by July 2027 and at least once every five years afterwards, by certified testers or employees trained to test. Requires the results to be published. Requires a second test if the results are above 4 picocuries per liter and requires mitigation plan by certified mitigation person if the results are still high. Does not require mitigation if the district intends to remodel or stop using the building. Requires new buildings to be radon resistant. Requires DE and DPH to adopt rules. Funding: allows the use of the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy and state penny for school infrastructure to pay for testing and mitigation. Similar to HF 243. The Subcommittee recommended the bill move forward to the full House Education Committee. UEN is registered in support.

HF 2309 Transgender Sports: requires that high school sports be classified according to the sex of the team members, including categories for mixed or co-ed. Limits participation on teams for girls to students who were listed as female on their birth certificates. Eliminates tort liability for schools that do not comply with the bill and grants immunity to schools for complying with the bill. Allows a student who suffers a direct or indirect harm, or retaliated against, to sue for damages, injunctive relief and declaratory relief. Allows for awards of attorney fees to the prevailing party. Requires the Attorney General to represent, at no cost, any public or private school, or employee against any lawsuit brought due to compliance. Requires the state assume various costs related to compliance lawsuits, including awards for attorney fees and costs. The Subcommittee recommended passive, 2:0, to the full House Education Committee. The athletic associations have their own process for setting rules and UEN is opposed to the legislature inserting themselves into this process. UEN is registered opposed.  

HSB 611 Education Matters: changes the terminology of Limited-English Proficient to English Learners through the code related to services for students who primary language is not English. UEN is registered as undecided. The Subcommittee moved the bill forward to the full House Education Committee.

HSB 656 Teaching License Renewal Credits: the Subcommittee discussed an amendment to change this bill, so as amended, would allow teachers and administrators with masters or doctorate degrees to meet recertification credit requirements through the provision of local professional development opportunities at school or as signed off by their evaluator. The subcommittee approval the bill to move forward with amendment 2:1. UEN is currently registered as undecided but would registered in support if amended in Committee.

HSB 683 School Mask Policies: requires schools that adopt a face mask policy to protect a child with disabilities to adopt a policy that allows parents to opt their children out of such policies. Requires requests to be processed within 24 hours. Requires the DE to adopt rules to accept complaints from parents. Requires the DE to assess civil penalties of up to $500 against schools/employees who violate these policies. The Subcommittee was scheduled to meet on Feb. 10, but the meeting was cancelled. This bill will have to have successful subcommittee and committee passage next week to survive the funnel deadline. UEN is registered opposed.


Subcommittee Action Senate:

SF 2112 Achievement Gap Study: requires the DE to convene a working group to study any disparities in academic performance between groups of students in kindergarten through grade 12. The Subcommittee recommend amendment and moved the bill forward to the full Senate Education Committee. UEN is registered as undecided.

SSB 3103 Open Enrollment Supplement: allows a school district to request supplemental aid from the School Budget Review Committee if the number of open-enrolled students in the district exceeds 35% of the enrollment. Requires the SBRC to consider the districts unspent authorized budget. Allows no more than 50% of the per pupil amounts of DCPP that exceeds SCPP, TSS, PD, EICL supplements and state penny per student multiplied by the net number of students open enrolled into the districts be granted as modified supplemental amount. Requires the school district to hold public hearings before requesting MSA. Effective for budget years beginning July 1, 2022. UEN is registered as undecided.

SSB 3104 Electronic Notice and School Health Training Requirements: changes provision to publication of bond and other notices, school training requirements for health, and includes a specific training requirement for seizure disorder. The specifics include:

  • Bonds: Allows notice for bonds to be published electronically and allows bids to be received electronically. Authorizes notice for school bonds to be published electronically.
  • School Boards: Allows school boards to publish a notice of vacancy on the website for the school board. Allows boards to use electronic signatures and contracts in specific circumstances.
  • Requires schools, rather than school boards, to administer the Pledge of Allegiance daily.
  • Work Group: Requires the DE to convene a workgroup on health care training for schools. Requires a report by Dec. 2022.
  • Conference Boards: Allows a mayor to appoint a designee to serve instead of the mayor and strikes the requirements that the school boards for the high schools in the county appoint members to the board.
  • Seizure Plan and Required Training: Requires schools that have a student known to have a seizure disorder (epilepsy) have a seizure action plan, and if needed, train school employees. Requires every school to have at least one employee with such training by the 2023-24 school year. Requires additional training for volunteers and biennial training for school employees. Requires schools to keep the written authorization for medication from the parent on file. Includes liability protections. Requires the DE to work with the DPH on a school health care training task force.
  • Background Checks: Deems that the BOEE or a school district can issue a license or authorization, or hire a teacher, before the national criminal history background check is received, contingent on the candidate passing such a check.

The subcommittee recommended amendment and passage in the full Senate Education Committee. UEN is supportive of all of the requirements except for Division VI Seizure Plan and Required Training, which we oppose. So UEN is registered as undecided.


Bills Introduced:

HSB 672 Governor’s School Choice Proposal (Education) Hite (Chair), This bill is identical to SSB 3080 in the Senate Education Committee. See SSB 3080 complete description in last week’s report. The Subcommittee assigned to this bill is the entire House Education Committee including Reps. Hite, Bossman, Brink, Cahill, Dolecheck, Ehlert, Fry, Gaines, Gjerde, Gobble, Ingels, Kerr, Mascher, Moore, T., Salmon, Smith, Sorensen, Staed, Steckman, Stone, Thompson, Wheeler and Wills. UEN is registered opposed to the bill.

HSB 702 School Complaint Procedures: requires certain mandatory reporters of child abuse to report such abuse regardless of the age of the child. Requires school employees who believes that another school employer is responsible for the injury to report that employee. Requires the DE to develop a process for reporting and investigating incidents where a teacher or licensed professional may have violated law. Creates a committee to investigate these matters and establishes membership of the Committee. Includes immunity provisions for school boards. Requires records be kept of incidents but does not make those open records. Establishes civil penalties for administrators who fail to follow procedures regarding these incidents. BOEE: Requires the BOEE to suspend teachers who are convicted of aggravated misdemeanors. Requires BOEE to adopt rules on complaint records and on giving notice of investigations to schools. Requires six members of the BOEE to be from the public and four members to be license holders. UEN has not yet registered on this bill. We are still reviewing the proposal.

HSB 705 Partial Governor’s School Choice Proposal I: includes parts of the Governor’s bill SSB 3080 and HSB 672. Private Special Ed: Allows a private school student needing special education courses to be placed in those courses without prior approval by the AEA. Allows the student to be dually enrolled. Open Enrollment: Allows the sibling of a student who is appealing a decision to deny an open enrollment request due to harassment that was filed after March 1 to also appeal a denial of open enrollment to the State Board of Education. Allows such a sibling student to compete immediately in athletics. Librarians: Strikes requirements that a school librarian have a master’s degree. UEN is undecided on this bill.

HSB 706 Partial Governor’s School Choice Proposal II: includes parts of the Governor’s bill SSB 3080 and HSB 672. Courses: Requires school district to publish course syllabi on the internet. Requires course summaries, with explanations how the course meets educational requirements, a listing of texts and other materials for the course, a library catalogue, and procedures on how to request the removal of a book using a flowchart, and other information on instruction. Reduces state aid for violations. Requires school districts to establish and post procedures for the selection and removal of materials from school libraries. Social Studies: Requires HS government classes to test students using the US citizenship test and to submit the results annually to the DE. Requires the student to score at least a 70 to pass. Similar to provisions in HSB 672/SSB 3080. UEN is registered opposed to this bill. See last week’s report for a more detailed description which is Division 1 of SSB 3080.


Advocacy Actions This Week:

  • Always start with a thank you! See the 2021 Legislative Session Successes on the UEN website and find one you are grateful for them accomplishing. Weigh in your support on the additional flexibility to recruit and retain teachers and grow our teacher workforce. Tell your legislators and the Governor thank you for the preschool funding supplement through the SBRC. THANK YOU for getting that done. (We will need to do it again this coming year.)
  • Explain the SSA numbers to your legislators focusing on the Senate, especially in light of inflation and workforce shortage. Ask senators to agree with the House and Governor’s 2.5% SSA and support the supplemental appropriation to help with inflationary costs. Also ask them to insist on their $10 per pupil equity contribution. Talking points:
  • Supplemental state aid is the biggest source of per pupil funding in Iowa, but our funding has not kept pace nationally, putting our students and state at a disadvantage. Sufficient funding provides for a high-quality education that translates to a successful future and economic growth in our state.
  • As a result of the legislature eliminating the Commercial and Industrial Replacement payment for school districts but increasing the foundation level, the cost of school aid will increase by $59 million without providing any new money to school districts. The funding source becomes the state general fund instead of local property taxes.
  • Inflation and cost-of-living increases should be considered when determining school aid funding. School districts must pay competitive salaries to retain teachers and staff, especially during a labor shortage. The legislature should provide funding that considers the impact inflation has on recruiting and retaining school employees. PERB has set a CPI-U of 7.5% for June arbitrations. (Although arbitrators are limited to the lower of 3% or that CPI-U rate, the inflation factor is a sign of private-sector wage growth and competition for school employees.)
  • School funding is enrollment-driven and increases in enrollment impact the supplemental state aid amount. On the flip side, declining enrollment combined with low SSA means more rural schools will have to consolidate or face closure by the state because they depend on adequate state funding to remain open.
  • Low SSA amounts also lead to more districts being eligible for budget guarantee, which shifts the funding burden to local property taxpayers. At the Governor’s proposed 2.5% SSA, 82 districts would be eligible for the budget guarantee at a total cost to property taxpayers of $9.1 million.

Find more SSA information and talking points in the UEN Issue Brief on Adequate Funding on the UEN website here.

  • Shore up Voucher Opposition: Circle back with your legislators focusing on the House who have previously told you they opposed vouchers and reiterate key messages:
    • Use public dollars for public schools. Period.
    • Public funds require public accountability and transparency.
    • A slippery slope toward a costly an expansive voucher program.
    • Iowa already has many parent choice options

Connecting with Legislators: To call and leave a message at the Statehouse during the legislative session, the House switchboard operator number is 515.281.3221 and the Senate switchboard operator number is 515.281.3371. You can ask if they are available or leave a message for them to call you back. You can also ask them what’s the best way to contact them during session. They may prefer email or text message or phone call based on their personal preferences.

UEN Advocacy Resources: Check out the UEN Website at to find Advocacy Resources such as Issue Briefs, UEN Weekly Legislative Reports and video updates, UEN Calls to Action when immediate advocacy action is required, testimony presented to the State Board of Education, the DE or any legislative committee or public hearing, and links to fiscal information that may inform your work. The latest legislative actions from the Statehouse will be posted at: See the newly released 2022 UEN Advocacy Handbook, which is also available from the subscriber section of the UEN website

Education Committee Members in the Senate and House: See last week’s Report for Education Committee member names and links to email.
Ways and Means Committee Members:
Senate Members
House Members

Contact us with any questions, feedback or suggestions to better prepare your advocacy work:

Margaret Buckton
UEN Executive Director/Legislative Analyst
515.201.3755 Cell