Iowa capitol

CLINTON — Among the bills in the Iowa legislature that affect public schools is one that will set the state supplemental assistance cost increase, Clinton School District Superintendent Gary DeLacy said Monday.

The House bill proposes a higher SSA increase, 2.5%, while the Senate is looking at 2.1%, according to Rural School Advocates of Iowa. At 2.5%, the cost per student would be $7,052, but the district has fewer students, so the regular program cost without the budget guarantee will decrease from fiscal year 2020, DeLacy told the school board Monday.

The budget guarantee would be $383.081, and new money would amount to $258,133.

The 2.5% SSA doesn’t allow schools to keep pace with cost increases or compete with the private sector for labor, Rural School Advocates says. Annual increases in the last decade have not kept up with inflation or with the actual costs schools experience.

Other bills in the legislature include Senate File 2065 which will allow school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses and allows districts to exceed their maximum authority for instructional support if the excess is spent on SROs.

The State doesn’t give schools additional money for SROs, DeLacy said, but it gives schools the option to use other revenue sources for the program.

The legislature is also addressing “room clears,” said DeLacy. Currently school behavior intervention plans include clearing the classroom to calm the disruptive student. DeLacy said lawmakers are concerned that this happens too often.

Under Senate File 2190, if an employee’s physical contact with the body of a student meets current statutory requirements and is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances in the opinion of a reasonable person at the time of the incident, the physical contact shall not be considered corporal punishment.

The bill provides immunity from disciplinary action by the employer or board of education imposed as a result of physical contact.

The bill allows relocating a student who is causing a severe distraction or disturbance that is detracting from the educational experience of other students and relocating a student who is not responding to verbal or written instructions that are intended to change the immediate behavior of the student.