On Monday we kicked off the feasibility study with a meeting that included administrators, buildings and grounds, and IT. Next week we anticipate seeing a draft of a community wide survey that we hope to get out very soon. Following that meeting, we selected individuals to participate in a half-day planning session, which is scheduled for February 27th. That will be here before we know it.
Tuesday and Wednesday I was in Des Moines for legislative advocacy days. We were able to schedule meetings with several area legislators that were very helpful. I do believe our advocacy is having an impact. There was quite a bit of action this week. Probably the biggest news was the release of a bill that came out of the House setting SSA at 1%. This will increase our district cost per pupil by $67 to $6,906. This equates to an actual .74% increase for Hudson or $33,940. The only good news is that it could have been worse; there were many in our lobby anticipating lower or zero. This is by no means a done deal yet, since we are still waiting to see what comes out of the Senate.
The legislature is also working out details on a larger education bill that will include a couple of items I believe will be helpful to Hudson. Among them are the extension of the SAVE and increased flexibility. This bill will also direct the DE to re-write the school finance rules to reflect the passage of Home Rule for school districts during the last legislative session.
While there are several items of concern, HSB 578 is the first to tackle here. This bill would, once and for all, resolve the statewide assessment issue, directing the state board of education to adopt rules requiring the Iowa Testing Program to be the vendor for the assessment. In other words, Iowa Assessments appear to be here to stay if this bill becomes law. This is unfortunate, because after two recommendations (over the course of many years) that overwhelmingly chose a different vendor, the legislature is poised to intervene and legislate something that has a history of not being properly aligned to the Iowa Core.
The picture that I am sharing this week is from the superintendent advocacy day on the hill, held on January 31st. There were some 150 superintendents from all around the state speaking with legislators on issues that will improve public education in Iowa.
Have a great weekend!
Dr. Anthony D. Voss, Superintendent