“We just have more and more children who have mental problems,” Superintendent Deb Olson said. “The children in our educational settings that have mental problems, we have to try to provide for them and we are drowning right now with trying to figure out how to best deal with different children in different situations because we’re not versed in that. We’re versed in educating students.”
Compounding the mental health struggles further is the lack of services in Clinton, member Eric Gettes said, and the in-need population’s inability to travel to places such as the Quad-Cities or Iowa City for care.
Also on school board members minds was the issue of school funding.
“It seems like property poor districts like our’s is not on a level playing field,” Gettes said.
This fiscal year the district, along with all others across the state, is receiving $6,001 per student from the state for funding. However, districts with a smaller pool to draw from for tax revenue end up with smaller budgets.
“The issue comes though, $10 in Polk County goes much farther than $10 in Clinton,” Olson said.
Olson suggested the funding formula for districts should take into account the English as a second language, transient and impoverished populations.
Wolfe said there is a caucus that is working to address the issue, but the question of fairness among counties presents a problem.
The first day of the session for the Iowa Legislature is Jan. 13.