Traditionally, Iowa has been a state with relatively low rates of poverty compared to other states. In 2001, about 28% of students were eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch. In 2017, this number soared to 41.3%. For the Clinton Community School District, 60.2% of all our students receive Free and Reduced Lunch. Also, poverty is no longer concentrated around Iowa’s largest cities. For example, of the 62 school districts in Iowa that had more than half of their students eligible, 51 are rural school districts. So how is this impacting funding?
There are two issues with the Dropout Prevention Funding calculation in the state. First, Dropout Prevention funding is based on total enrollment count, not the percentage of at-risk students. Second, funding caps range from 2.5% to 5% of the total regular program district cost, based on historical school access to these funds, not based on current needs.
The ability of local school districts to make decisions based on the needs of the students they serve is the premise for increased flexibility in the use of these funds. The current state requirements limit local school districts, like Clinton, to meet these needs. Please consider contacting our local legislators about increasing the flexibility of use of these finds to meet our poor and at-risk students’ needs.
Our local representatives are:
- Rita Hart (D, District 49)
- Norlin Mommsen (R, District 97)
- Mary Lynn Wolfe (D, District 98)