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Capitol Update - January 12, 2024

UEN Legislative Update
January 12, 2024

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This UEN Weekly Report from the 2024 Legislative Session includes:

  • Governor’s Budget Recommendations Impacting Education
  • HSB 452 AEA Overhaul and Teacher Salary Minimums
  • Legislative Timelines and Funnel Deadlines
  • Bills Introduced
  • Advocacy Actions
  • Links to Advocacy Resources


Governor’s Budget Recommendations Impacting Education:

Income Tax Reduction Acceleration: $1.83B Surplus, $902M in Reserves, $2.74B in TRF. “State is over collecting” Flat Income Tax 3.65% Jan. 1, 2024 and Flat rate 3.5% Jan. 1, 2025. LAGAR: “The Governor’s budget includes General Fund revenue adjustments of negative $279.3 million for FY 2024 and negative $1.348 billion for FY 2025.” Governor’s Budget in Brief also proposes simplifying the unemployment insurance system to make Iowa’s business climate more competitive and creating property tax parity between commercial child care centers and in-home providers. See bill descriptions of HSB 543 and SSB 3038 below. UEN is registered opposed.

State Foundation Aid and Per Pupil Funding Increase: the Governor recommends a 2.5% increase in the state cost per pupil. The total state cost of State Foundation Aid is $3.730 billion for FY 2025, an increase of $62.3 million compared to estimated FY 2024. Increases the state cost per pupil from $7,635 to $7,826, which is $191 per student. The 2.5% proposed increase also applies to supplementary weightings (Preschool, Special Education, English-Language Learners or Concurrent Enrollment, for example), to categorical funds (TLC, PD, TSS and EICS, for example), and also applies to AEA per pupil funding. The transportation equity payments also increase by 2.5%, an increase of $759,000.

FY 2025 ISFIS New Authority Calculator allows users to set the SSA rate and calculate the impact for all districts for FY 2025 on your regular program (not including special education or other supplemental weightings or categoricals). Enter the SSA percentage increase and your Budget Enrollment and you can compare to the new money you’d receive if the SSA rate matched inflation (either 3.1% for CPI and 4% for Core Inflation) compared to the Governor’s Recommendation of 2.5%. Iowa Code requires the SSA rate to be enacted within 30 days of the release of the Governor’s Budget, this year by February 9.

Last year, the increased cost to the state would have been much greater than $62.3 million. What explains the difference?

  • The AEA overhaul proposal impacts the foundation aid line item, including moving $20.1 million from the Standings Appropriations bill to the Education Budget for a new Special Education Division at DE. Additional reductions to AEAs also lower the state cost.
  • The cost assumes an enrollment decrease of approximately 2,800 public school pupils.
  • Increases in property tax assessments mean the uniform levy brings in almost $50 million more this year than last year because of increased property values.
  • The adjustment to the Property Tax Replacement Payment (PTRP) funding increases from $201 to $223 per pupil. This funding would have been generated by property taxes, but the Governor’s recommendation has the state picking up what would have been property tax for the per pupil increase in the additional levy. Although this is a cost to the state, it is not additional money to schools.

See the UEN website for an Issue Brief providing education funding history, comparing total Iowa education expenditures per pupil, which most recently ranked our state as 35th in the nation, now spending more than $3,000 per student LESS than the national average, and including some talking points to help you advocate with your legislators. UEN’s 2025 Legislative Priority supports an SSA rate that at least matches the inflation rate schools are experiencing.


Other Appropriations Impacting Education:

  • Teacher Salaries: a new appropriation (estimated to cost $96 million through in the foundation formula) to set a minimum starting teacher pay of $50,000 and minimum 12-year + experienced teacher pay of $62,000. Each district’s teacher salary supplement per pupil amount will be adjusted based on a formula in the Governor’s proposed HSB 542. UEN’s staff shortage priority language requested the use of TSS to provide new funding for teacher pay increases, which embeds the funding in the school aid formula for stability and predictability.
  • Education Savings Accounts: an appropriation of $179.2 million in FY 2025, which is an increase of $51.3 million (40.06%) and is intended to reflect SSA (2.50%) plus an increased number of ESAs from 17,000 in FY 2024 to 23,000 in FY 2025. Iowa Code requires the ESA amount to be equal to the state cost per pupil set by SSA.
  • Special Education Division: new appropriation of $20.1 million in FY 2025 to establish a Division of Special Education, which will supervise and provide technical assistance for Iowa’s special education system. Funding for AEAs will be reduced by an equivalent amount to support this appropriation. HSB 542 also requires that what is now AEA special education flow-through be retained by school districts, which will determine whether to contract with AEAs for special education rather than being transferred directly to AEAs from the school district revenues.
  • Other Increases: although most of the education budget line items in the Governor’s FY 2025 Recommendation receive status quo funding, the following increases directly impacting public schools also include:
    • An increase of $687,948 for DE Administration
    • An increase of $123,582 for CTE Secondary
    • An increase of $500,000 for Jobs for America’s Graduates Program (I-JAG)
    • An Increase of $43,668 to the Iowa Department for the Blind, directing the Department to provide media services to school districts serving vision-impaired students since the AEA’s will no longer provide media services if HSB 542 is unchanged.


AEA Overhaul and Teacher Salary Minimums: HSB 542 was introduced on January 10. The 123-page bill has nine divisions and much of the detail will become clearer with additional study and discussion, and of course, amendments by the Legislature to change or clarify. The bill is in the House Education Committee and assigned to a subcommittee of Reps. Wheeler, Collins and Steckman.

Division I AEA Mission and Structure: redefines the AEA charge to only provide special education services (strikes media and education services from the Code).

  • Moves AEA management (for special education) to the DE with a new Special Education Division. Gives the DE director authority to determine the number of AEAs, not more than 9, and supervision over AEAs. Makes AEA boards advisory. Prohibits AEAs from holding property and turns property management over to the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). AEAs are required to maintain the property DAS provides.
  • Requires AEAS to provide special education services to school districts requesting services through an agreement (contract). Strikes the requirement for AEAs to provide educational programs and services for employees of school districts. Eliminates AEA collaboration to provide statewide longitudinal data system and disaster mitigation. Strikes the requirement for an AEA strategic plan aligned with the State Board of Education student learning goals.
  • Allows AEAs to provide 403(b) retirement programs and competitively bid via DAS agreement. Selection of the program must be made via agreement with the AEA and their employee organizations eligible to participate in the plan. Allows AEA to pay the cost of group health insurance plans and provide credit cards for AEA personnel expenses. Allows purchase of equipment.
  • By Jan. 15 annually, requires AEA to submit staffing plans, job classifications, salaries, bonus wages, benefits, annuity payments and any other benefits, for employees to the DE. DE director may approve or reject each position by March 1 annually. Requires job classification alignment with DAS classifications. Directs any AEA reduction in force to follow Code requirements.
  • Requires all licensed AEA staff to complete the IRRC dyslexia overview training module.
  • Requires AEAs to collaborate with DE to provide statewide infrastructure for education data, storage disaster mitigation, and implementation of a statewide longitudinal data system.
  • Strikes the authority for AEAs to hire administrators and, instead, requires an executive director, subject to approval by DE Director. Must have an administrator license and either a teaching license with a special education endorsement or a special education support personnel authorization issued by BOEE. Requires DE director to set the Executive Directors’ salaries. Requires the Executive Director to submit a budget for the AEA annually to the DE director for approval by March 1, with final approval by State BOE.
  • Defines duties of the AEA executive director, who is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the DE director. Specifies that, subject to approval by the administrators of the Division of Special Education within the DE, the AEA may contract with public schools, nonpublic schools, AEAs, located within the state or in a contiguous state, for special education programs and services. Requires school districts to pay AEAs for services they have requested to receive.
  • Requires AEA to be accredited by the state BOE in consultation with the DE Director and defines the standards for accreditation working toward goals for students with disabilities, to provide support to schools in analyzing student achievement data and using that information to guide schools in setting goals and implementing actions to improve student learning for students with disabilities, including support for all students with disabilities eligible for special education, including directs services to students. Also requires standards for AEAs to provide support to schools to ensure compliance with state BOE special education rules. Also specifies provision of support for early childhood birth-3, including service coordination.
  • Repeals Code Section 273 subsections requiring AEAs to provide the following: Subsection 6 (media centers), subsection 7 (additional services), and subsection 16 (online learning)
  • Transfer Provisions: Prohibits AEAs from transferring an ownership interest in any property existing as of Jan. 1, 2024, without first transferring it to DAS. DAS has the authority to dispose of property. Proceeds from the sale of property are required to be deposited in the state General Fund. Before June 1, requires AEAs to provide an inventory of all media center and PD equipment and property owned by the AEA. AEA may request to retain any of that for special education program and services, DE reviews inventory and may grant or deny requests by June 15. Requires transfer of all media center and PD equipment and property to DAS, except for any the DE has authorized the AEA to retain. Requires DAS to transfer such to Department for the Blind to provide library services to vision-impaired and disabled persons. DAS may dispose of equipment and property, giving preference to low-performing school districts in Iowa. Proceeds from the sale go to the state General Fund.
  • Requires termination of all AEA administrators no later than July 1, 2024, but gives DE Director authority to terminate earlier. States that Iowa Code 279.24 regarding continuing contracts does not apply. Instead of AEA Chief Administrator or other adminsitrators, there will be an AEA Executive Director appoint by and employed by the department and the elected board of directors shall only be advisory without oversight authority. DE Director will serve as Executive Director of each AEA until an Executive Director is appointed (by the DE Director.) For the transition period and notwithstanding other deadlines in the bill, AEAs shall submit staffing information to the Department by June 7, 2024 and DE is required to review and either approve or reject the continuation of each position by June 30, 2024. The Division of Special Education is required to give preference to qualified personnel who seek employment because their employment with an AEA terminated as a result of the bill. Requires school district to notify DE and the AEA if they want to receive special education services from the AEA by April 30, 2024.
  • Division I is effective on enactment (if and when the Governor signs it.)

Division II AEA Reorganization or Dissolution: Conforming language changes the authority of AEA boards over to AEA Executive Directors and gives authority to the DE Director to determine if an AEA should be reorganized or dissolved. Requires DAS to be the chief negotiator with AEA staff pursuant to a reorganization. Repeals code sections related to dissolution commission, proposal and State BOE approval of dissolution (Iowa Code 274 subsections 24, 25, 26 and 27).

Division III AEA Funding: The bill eliminates the AEA professional development categorical funding supplement, the AEA media services categorical funding supplement, and the AEA educational services categorical funding supplement beginning with the 2024-2025 school budget year.

  • Currently, DOM deducts the amounts calculated for special education, media services, educational services, AEA teacher salary supplement, and AEA professional development for each school district from their state aid district payment and pays the amounts to the respective AEAs. The bill removes the eliminated categorical funding (media, education services, and AEA per pupil PD supplement).
    • Allows the AEA to use FY 2024 ending fund balances in media and education services to meet special education requirements (maintenance of effort?). Requires TSS FY 2024 fund balances to be used for TSS.
    • Allows DOM to evaluate changes in taxes levied pursuant to the elimination of media and education services property taxes and allows DOM to reduce the district’s management levy if the district's property taxes do not result in a corresponding reduction. Allows DOM to evaluate the amounts and purposes of property taxes in the district to determine the adequacy of this reduction.
  • Removes the ability for AEAs to engage in shared operational program/funding with school districts.
  • If school districts contract with AEAs for special education services, requires DOM to deduct amounts calculated for special education support services and AEA teacher salary supplement from that school district’s state aid and provide those revenues to the AEA.
  • Conforming Changes – removes AEA authority over multiple programs, including reorganization of school districts and transfers previous AEA authority to the Director of the Department of Education. Removes AEAs/authority/membership on various programs and councils through policy bill proposal.
  • Division III is effective for budget years on or after July 1, 2024.

Division IV Salary Minimums: increases starting salary for a full-time teacher from $33,500 to $50,000, which applies to beginning teachers and career teachers with less than 12 years of teaching experience and establishes the minimum salary for a full-time teacher with at least 12 years of teaching experience at $62,500. The experienced teacher minimum applies to a career teacher, model teacher, mentor teacher, or lead teacher, with a valid license under Chapter 256, subchapter VII, part 3. (Effectively includes a new Standing Unlimited Appropriation estimated to be $96 million through the School Aid Formula to provide funding for the teacher salary minimums through the teacher salary supplement per pupil. See Division VIII for TSS calculations and program descriptions.)

Division V State Board Rulemaking Conforming Changes: Strikes State BOE Rulemaking regarding AEAs in Iowa Code Chapter 256.

Division VI Conforming Changes: Amends code sections regarding special education cost per pupil, AEA membership on councils and commissions, and DE Director becomes responsible for studies and support for school district reorganization plans and implementation, deciding appeals for which district a property owner belongs in, filing petitions, calling special elections on mergers, requires DAS to be the chief negotiator for AEA salary negotiations, requires all appeals formerly to AEAs instead are submitted to and adjudicated by the DE Director. Requires the DE Director to approve school district requests for emergency repairs.

Division VII Other Conforming Changes: Requires the Iowa Department for the Blind to operate and manage a library loan program for the benefit of students enrolled in school districts and nonpublic schools in the state. Requires the DE Division of Special Education to supervise the system of special education, administer rules adopted by the State BOE consistent with Iowa Code, and provide instruction

Division VIII Teacher Salary Supplement (TSS) Program Modification: Proposal modifies how the teacher salary supplement district cost per pupil is determined for each school beginning July 1, 2024. The bill requires the DOM to determine a new TSS per pupil. Requires DOM to categorize all school districts into not more than 10 tiers according to each school district’s actual enrollment. Requires, to the extent feasible, the same number of districts in all tiers of districts established with enrollments over 3,500 students. Repeats the same requirement for the number of districts in tiers below 3,500 students. Requires the DE to assign all districts a TSS per pupil amount based in part on the average necessary to meet the minimums. If the total TSS per pupil assigned is insufficient for a district to comply with the minimums, including the cost of employer’s share of IEPRS and Federal employment taxes, requires DOM to set the TSS at an amount necessary to meet the minimum salary requirements and associated costs. For the budget year beginning July 1, 2025, and subsequent budget years, the TSS per pupil is the prior year’s TSS plus the SSA increase set by the legislature. Of course, since it is per pupil, enrollment swings will impact the total amount of TSS provided for school districts in any future year.

Division IX State Mandate: Specifies that Iowa Code 25B.2 Subsection 3 does not apply. That code section is the unfunded mandate relief provision allowing local governments to ignore an unfunded mandate.

UEN is opposed to the AEA Overhaul for several reasons; 1) the timeline for implementation is so fast, UEN leaders are concerned there is not enough information to choose next steps wisely based on the needs of students and Iowa’s unique identification model. 2) UEN districts were less likely to fully participate in the media and education services provided by the AEA. Complete elimination of those services without resources to replace what school district did count on is a cut to services. See additional rationale for opposition under Advocacy Actions below.


Legislative Timelines:

The 90th General Assembly, which is the 2024 Legislative Session, began on Jan. 8 and is scheduled for 100 days of paid per diem for legislators. Legislators like to end by that deadline, which this year is April 16, but they can and often do run over. There are built-in funnel deadlines by which bills have to make defined progress in order to remain eligible for consideration. Since this is an even-number year, during which there will be an election of all Iowa House of Representatives and about half of the Senators, this Session is 100 days, or ten days shorter than last year. All bills introduced in the 2023 Legislative Session will remain alive for consideration unless they fail to progress past the self-imposed funnel deadlines. See the schedule of deadlines on the Legislative website here:


Bills Introduced:

House Bills

HSB 520 Therapeutic Classrooms: Transfer ending balances to Therapeutic Classroom Transportation fund. HSB 520 Therapeutic Classroom Funds (Appropriations) Nordman (C), Collins, Ehlert Authorizes the DE to transfer any remaining funds from the appropriation for reimbursement of transportation claims for therapeutic classroom services to the Therapeutic Classroom Incentive fund. UEN supports this bill, now in the House Education Committees. See SSB 3044.

HSB 542 Governor’s AEA Overhaul and Teacher Salaries in House Education with Subcommittee of Wheeler, Collins and Steckman. See description above. UEN is opposed. See rationale for opposition above.

HSB 543 Governor’s Income Tax Reduction. Combines the Cash Reserve Fund with the Economic Emergency Fund. Income taxes: Accelerates the income tax rate reductions (3.65% for tax year 24 and %3.50 for later years). Strikes the Alternative Minimum Tax. Withholding: Establishes penalties for over-withholding. Estimates: Increases the threshold for requiring estimated payments to $1,000. Retirement Income: Makes lump sum distributions of retirement income exempt. Childcare Facility: Excludes commercial properties that are primarily used for childcare from the calculation of the actual value and establishes a new formula. Unemployment: Reduces calculations for determining Unemployment contributions. Reduces the value of the weekly wage average by half. Reduces the contribution rates for benefits. in House Ways and Means with a Subcommittee of Kaufmann, Bloomingdale, Jacoby, Johnson and Wilson assigned. UEN is opposed. See SSB 3038.

HF 134 Transportation in Neighboring District: allows district to take buses into neighboring district to transport student Open Enrolling into the district without permission from the resident district. A Subcommittee of P Thompson (C), Collins, Staed is assigned. UEN is opposed.

HF 409 Comments At School Board Meetings: requires school board regular and special meetings to schedule at least 30 minutes to receive public comment. Requires the board to allow each interested member of the public to speak, but may impose a consistent time limitation to all speakers if necessary. Subcommittee of Gehlbach (C), Gaines, Henderson is assigned. In the House Local Government Committee. UEN is opposed.

HF 464 Independent Private Instruction Expansion: allows teaching an unlimited number of unrelated students in a home school, allows charging of tuition, and eliminates requirement that student be vaccinated. A subcommittee of Gustoff (C), Cahill, Fry is assigned. The bill is in the House Education Committee. UEN is opposed.

HF 606 Private school Accreditation: Allows a nonpublic school to withdraw request for the state to accredit them at any time. A subcommittee of Gustoff (C), Cahill, Osmundson is assigned. The bill is in the House Education Committee. UEN is opposed.

HF 2001 School Bus Removals: Requires a school bus driver to notify the school about the removal of a student due to the behavior of the student, after the student has been left in a safe location. Requires the school to notify the parent. The bill is in the House Education Committee. UEN is undecided.

HF 2002 Printed Report Cards: Requires public schools to give or mail a printed report card to parents. Allows the school to give the printed card to the student for delivery to the parent. The bill is in the House Education Committee. UEN is undecided.

HF 2003 Disabled Sports Participation: Prohibits schools from participating in extracurricular activities and sports unless the administrative organization has a waiver process to allow disabled students over the age 20 to continue to participate in the activity. Requires a determination that the waiver is in the public interest and requires consideration of many factors, including how long the student has had an IEP. The bill is in the House Education Committee. UEN is gathering more information to determine our registration.

HF 2016 Gifts To Public Officials: Increases the value of gifts that can be made to public officials, employees, legislators, candidates and others from $3 a day to $20 a week. The bill is in the House State Government Committee. UEN supports.

HF 2027 School Funding Statement: Requires property tax statements to include information on how much less funding the local school district received due to Education Savings Accounts and how much of the title holders state income tax paid for the funding of ESAs. Requires the DOM and DOR to make the necessary calculations and prescribes the language of the notice. The bill is in the House Ways and Means Committee. UEN is gathering more information to determine our registration.

HF 2028 Senior Property Tax Credit: Establishes a homestead credit for seniors (65+) with an income of less than $40,000 ($80,000 for a couple). Makes credit equal to the actual levy on the first $100,000 of value. The bill is in the House Ways and Means Committee. UEN is opposed.

HF 2030 Dyslexia Endorsement: Appropriates $335,000 to the DE to create grants to help teachers obtain an advanced dyslexia specialist endorsement. See SF 2004. The bill is in the House Education Committee. UEN supports.

HF 2031 Pregnancy Education: Requires that Human Growth & Development courses in grades 1 through 6 include instruction on pregnancy and fetal development, including videos showing the process of fertilization and development in the womb. Includes additional requirements. The bill is in the House Education Committee. UEN opposes it.

HF 2032 School Cybersecurity Funding: Allows schools to use the district management levy for cybersecurity functions and equipment. The bill is in the House Education Committee. UEN supports it.

HF 2033 Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact: Adopts the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact. Includes provisions on supporting the mobility of teachers to move to compact states. Includes the powers and duties of the state and a governing commission. Makes definitions. The bill is in the House Education Committee. UEN is gathering more information to determine our registration.

HF 2034 School Building Fire Code: Requires that Department of Inspections and Appeals include in rules a process to exempt a church or religious school building that serves up to 50 students and operates under an existing private school exemption be exempt from the State Fire Code. The bill is in the House State Government Committee. UEN opposes.


Senate Bills

SSB 3038 Governor Flat Income Tax: See HSB 543 description above. The bill is in the Senate Ways and Means Committee with a Subcommittee of Green (C), Lofgren, Quirmbach assigned. UEN opposes it.

SSB 3041 BOEE Investigation Reporting: Transfers responsibility to implement legislation enacted last year form the DE to the BOEE. Requires the BOEE to include the number of investigations of school employees who are not licensed or holders of certificates or authorizations that are referred to law enforcement in its annual reports. Includes protections for personal information. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee with a Subcommittee of Cournoyer (C), Donahue, Gruenhagen assigned. UEN supports.

SSB 3042 Reporting Grooming Behavior: Adds discipline for grooming behavior to the kinds of discipline taken against teachers that must be reported to the BOEE. Defines grooming and misconduct. For purposes of this section:

a. “Grooming behavior” means engaging in a pattern of flirtatious behavior, making any effort to gain unreasonable access to, or time alone with any student with no discernible educational purpose, engaging in any behavior that can reasonably be construed as involving an inappropriate, overly personal, or intimate relationship with or conduct toward or focus on a student, and engaging in any other individualized, special treatment not in compliance with generally accepted educational practices.

b. “Misconduct” means an action disqualifying an applicant for a license or causing the license of a person to be revoked or suspended in accordance with the rules adopted by the board to implement section 256.146, subsection 13, paragraph “b”, subparagraph (1).

The bill is in the Senate Education Committee with a Subcommittee of Cournoyer (C), Donahue, Gruenhagen assigned. UEN is reviewing the workability of the Grooming definition before determining registration.

SSB 3043 Investigation Protections: Extends the confidentiality protections for investigations by the BOEE for license holders to non-license holders. Requires the BOEE to report investigative information that indicates a crime has been committed to law enforcement, despite any confidentiality protections. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee with a Subcommittee of Gruenhagen (C), Cournoyer, Donahue assigned. UEN supports.

SSB 3044 Therapeutic Classroom Funds: Authorizes the DE to transfer any remaining funds from the appropriation for reimbursement of transportation claims for therapeutic classroom services to the Therapeutic Classroom Incentive fund. See HSB 520 The bill is in the Senate Education Committee with a Subcommittee of Westrich (C), Celsi, Green assigned. UEN supports.

SSB 3045 State Academic Standards Process Change: References for the state BOE to adopt rules to establish a core curriculum to the state BOE adopting a core curriculum without a rulemaking requirement. Makes prior rules effective until rescinded by the state BOE. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee with a Subcommittee of Green (C), Quirmbach, Westrich assigned. UEN supports.

SSB 3047 Education Leadership Reporting: Strikes the reporting requirements for the Commission on Education Leadership and Compensation to the DE, Legislature and the Governor. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee with a Subcommittee of Garrett (C), Giddens and J Taylor. UEN is undecided.

SSB 3049 Transitional Coaching: Strikes the requirement that a person seeking a transitional coaching authorization complete a course on professional responsibilities developed by the BOEE. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee with a Subcommittee of Salmon (C), Giddens, and Kraayenbrink assigned. UEN is determining the impact before registering our position.

SSB 3050 BOEE Grooming Investigations: Strikes the requirement that BOEE investigations about the misconduct of a practitioner involving behavior that led to an inappropriate or romantic relationship be done within three years of the conduct. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee with a Subcommittee of Gruenhagen (C), Cournoyer, and Trone Garriott assigned. UEN is determining the impact before registering our position.

SF 2001 Minimum State Foundation Aid: changes the calculation to insure all districts get a certain amount of state aid. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee and UEN is undecided.

SF 2003 Immunization Information: Requires schools to provide information about exemptions from immunization to parents. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee and UEN is undecided.

SF 2004 Advanced Dyslexia Specialist Grant Program: Requires DE to develop and administer a Dyslexia Specialist grant program to no more than 25 participants annually and includes an appropriation of $338,000 to provide for the grants. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee and UEN supports.

SF 2005 Activities Sharing with Other States: Allows school districts and nonpublic schools that boarder other states to share activities with school districts and/or nonpublic schools in other states. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee with a Subcommittee of Gruenhagen (C), Cournoyer, Trone Garriott assigned. UEN is determining impact on members before registering our position.

SF 2006 SAVE Certification of Need Calculations: includes open enrolled students into the district to calculate minimum enrollment required for a certificate of need to authorized SAVE expenditures for new construction. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee and UEN is undecided.

SF 2007 Substitutes Bona Fide Retirement: the bill excludes retired teachers who return to school district for purposes of substitute teaching from having to wait the four month bona fide retirement period before reemployment. The bill is in the Senate State Government Committee with a Subcommittee of Bousselot (C), Schultz, Winckler assigned. UEN supports.

SF 2009 Teacher Spending Accounts: Requires district to give teachers a TSA (Teacher Spending Account) to help pay for classroom materials, $500 for beginning teachers and $200 for other teachers annually. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee and UEN opposes.

SF 2010 Start Date: Allows schools to establish a school start date as early as the first Tuesday following the close of the State Fair. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee with a Subcommittee of Cournoyer (C), Celsi, and Evans assigned. UEN supports this bill.

SF 2011 Open Enrollment: Reinstates the March 1 application deadline for open enrollment. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee and UEN supports it.

SF 2017 Fire Alarm for Active Shooter: Requires school districts to have policies directing response to a pulled fire alarm in the event of an active shooter. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee with a Subcommittee of Westrich (C), Cournoyer, Giddens is assigned. UEN is waiting to learn more about this before registering.

SF 2019 FFA Grant: Creates an FFA Competitive Grant Program for help pay FFA teachers. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee and UEN supports.

SF 2021 Shared Extracurriculars: If a district engages in a material breach of contract with the private school for shared activities without good cause, the bill takes away the categorical funds otherwise generated for ESA recipient resident students. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee and UEN is opposed.

SF 2027 Parent Permission for Human Growth and Development: Requires advance written parent permission before a student can be enrolled in a human growth and development course or attend a conference/seminar that provides information about human growth and development. Requires districts to share content information annually about such conferences/seminars with parents. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee and UEN is opposed.

SF 2034 Jury Duty: Requires request of high school student who is 18 to be excused from jury duty be honored. The bill is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. UEN is supportive.

SF 2041 School Administrator Contracts: Requires that contracts between school boards and school administrator include a statement that severance payments will not be made to an administrator found liable in a criminal, civil or administrative proceeding, except for simple misdemeanors or traffic tickets. Applies to contracts entered into or continued after the effective date of the bill. The bill is in the Senate Education Committee and UEN is opposed.


Advocacy Actions This Week:

Adequate School Funding: Contact legislators regarding SSA, the Governor’s recommendation of 2.5% falls short of inflation. The teacher salary investment in the Governor’s proposal is a really good start, but SSA has to keep pace or our staff and programs for students will be compromised. See the UEN Issue Brief for additional information. The deadline for deciding SSA is Feb. 9, so the advocacy window is short.  

Governor’s AEA and Teacher Pay Bill: Contact Legislators with the following regarding HSB 542:

  • UEN leaders are enthusiastic about considering changes to special education and AEAs that are thoughtful, provide adequate stakeholder input and adequate time to make wise choices in transitioning to anything different. Chaotic transitions will interrupt the quality and quantity of services for students with disabilities.
  • UEN has concerns regarding the shortened timeline and lack of quality information to make an informed decision on next steps. The bill has not been considered by a subcommittee yet and already, DE is advertising for positions for their new Division of Special Education and districts have been told they must determine whether or not to contract with the AEA by the end of April.
  • UEN districts have not used the AEA media and education services to the same extent as other districts, but eliminating $63 million from the education pie and providing property tax relief, without replacing the revenue is wrong. This leaves local districts and AEAs without capacity to provide curriculum, materials, equipment, and educational improvement, unless we redict funds spent on staff and other general fund commitments.
  • UEN has concerns about concentrated power without capacity in the DE as AEAs are dismantled.
  • UEN is concerned about the lost economy of scale which will bid up the cost of special education services.
  • Initial UEN looks at penciling out the special education flow-through indicate that all special education services provided by the AEA, if districts were to establish their own program, will take additional funding. This is not surprising since the AEAs have been using media and education services funding to meet special education maintenance effort to the tune of about $30 million annually.
  • UEN supports big investments for the teacher pay provisions. We need to emphasize that our opposition to HSB 542 is only to the AEA provisions.
  • We don’t agree with the premise. Iowa is the only state in the nation that identifies students with disabilities considering nonproficiency rather than a diagnosis of disability (categorical identification). Until we understand how Iowa is different, we should not base comparisons on NAEP scores or expenditures per pupil.  

UEN Priorities: in every communication, find a way to mention Quality Preschool and Teacher and other Staff Shortages. Find Issues Briefs and other resources on the UEN Advocacy website below and take them with you when you meet with policy makers.

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.

Find biographical information about legislators gleaned from their election websites on the ISFIS site here: Learn about your new representatives and senators or find out something you don’t know about incumbents.

Find out who your legislators are through the interactive map or address search posted on the Legislative Website here:

UEN Advocacy Resources: Check out the UEN Website at to find Issue Briefs, UEN Weekly Update Legislative Reports and Videos, 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 2024 UEN Advocacy Handbook, which is also available from the subscriber section of the UEN website.


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


Thanks to our UEN Corporate Sponsors

Special thank you to your UEN Corporate Sponsors for their support of UEN programs and services. Find information about how these organizations may help your district on the Corporate Sponsor page of the UEN website at