We wish the Class of 2014 much success as they make final preparations before moving on with what we know will be a bright future! Recipients of HEF scholarships posed for a few quick photos before riding in the Hudson [...]
The following students were recipients of scholarships from the Hudson Educational Fund. Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors and friends to HEF, we were fortunate to award a total of 41 scholarships, for a total of $21,600 on May [...]
The Pirate Press won 22 awards from the Iowa High School Press Association. In journalistic writing, Journalism I student Alex Fouts, a sophomore, won 2nd place for his profile over a student with a sleep disorder. Newcomer junior Olivia Griffith won [...]
The 7th and 8th grade participated in the National History Day program’s district competition at Grout Museum on March 28th. It was another fantastic day for our students. Not only did the students represent Hudson as history researching gurus, but [...]
The Hudson Community School District is honored to be selected as a grant recipient of over $200,000 to begin teacher leadership next school year. Our district was one of 39 school districts out of 146 who submitted applications to develop [...]
Congratulations are in order for several of our students who have been chosen for the Mayor’s Top Teen Award, which occurred on April 22nd at the Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo. Olivia Griffith was additionally awarded the Mother Moon Service [...]
Voss Blog Log
Educational Issues in Iowa Public Schools.
Supplemental state aid [then] defines the amount that a school districts budget will be allowed to grow under Iowa law, or how much the state cost per pupil will increase from one year to the next. School districts operate under a principle known as spending authority, and regardless of the relative wealth of a taxing authority it is designed to provide equity to students across Iowa and keep property taxes in check. Because expenses for school districts increase year after year, it is natural to expect that the state cost per pupil will also increase each year.
Current law requires supplemental state aid it to be set for the following year within 30 days of the Governor releasing budget targets. This is typically done around the time the Condition of the State address is given, at the very beginning of the General Assembly. During the last legislative assembly (which began in January of 2014), we should have set supplemental state aid for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2015. That didn't happen.
A big part of the debate will center around how much the increase [should be] for supplemental state aid. There will be numerous debates about this number and other state priorities. After all, there is only so much revenue and we have multiple entities that rely on funding that is provided by the state budget. However, an argument can be made that school districts have been underfunded for the last several years and that while the introduction of funding for teacher leadership and compensation systems is a significant investment in capital, those funds are categorical in nature. That means they can only be used for specified purposes. Categorical funds cannot be used for general budgetary expenditures.
In the coming months we will discuss an appropriate number for supplemental state aid. You may hear numbers like: "4%, or 6%,". But what exactly does that mean? That percentage represents the amount that the state cost per pupil will increase for the next fiscal year. For example, the year that we are in right now, the state cost per pupil is $6,366. If supplemental state aid increases by 4%, it is calculated like this: $6,366 X 4% = $254. That would mean the state cost per pupil for the next fiscal year would be $6,621.
When you take the state cost per pupil and multiple it by the number of resident students that your district is serving, that provides schools with the base budget number, often times referred to the as the Regular Program District Cost. The challenge is that the number of students served isn't static from one year to another. If you have fewer students from one year to the next (the majority of schools in Iowa do), then you can actually see a decrease in school funding from one year to the next; especially if the percentage in which the increase in supplemental state aid doesn't offset the decrease in enrollment. Let me give you an example.
In addition to employee costs, other items increase as well. Consider the cost of fuel. Remember how cold it was last winter? We spent $73,023 on heating costs this year; the year prior it was $53,172. That is a pretty substantial increase. The cost of electricity was up 3.45%, and I am sure you are all aware of the dramatic fluctuations in gasoline and diesel fuel! Simply stated, the increases in supplemental state aid have not kept up with fluctuations in enrollment or increases in other school district expenses.
A logical assumption would be that fewer students would require fewer teachers, thus the budget would not need to grow as much. If the decrease in enrollment all came from one grade level then that logic is true; one probably wouldn't need as many teachers. However, decreases in enrollment are typically spread out across the entire span of grades K-12, this makes it a little more challenging to respond to these types of changes!
For these reasons, the Board of Directors has identified this as the number one legislative priority for the next General Assembly. At the last board meeting, the Director's spent time discussing priorities for the upcoming legislative session. This is the first in a five part series of articles on the legislative priorities for the next session.
The maintenance department is another division of our enterprise that is sometimes not noticed--unless of course there is a problem. With a staff of only 5; this group has the responsibility of ensuring that our facilities are clean and safe every day. Summertime is among the busiest for this division. Every piece of furniture is touched, cleaned, and moved into the hallways so all the floors can be waxed and prepared for the new school year. Equipment repairs that they didn't have time to complete during the school year are completed, and other projects are completed that can only be done while students are out of the buildings.
Food service practically serves as an enterprise in it's own right. During the 2013-2014 school year, this division served approximately 77,441 meals! With a staff of 10, they are responsible for ensuring that our student body has nutritious and healthy meals. Without this division, it would be nearly impossible to fulfill our educational mission. Hungry students do not learn well!
When you think of administration, I am sure that you automatically think of the building principals and superintendent--but the folks that really make the school run smoothly are the clerical staff. Once again, a small staff of 6; this group knows where everyone is, how to answer the multitude of questions that come their way, and do their best to make sure that everyone is well taken care of! Like the transportation department, this group often times has the greatest contact with the public and serve as Ambassadors to the school district.