In case others didn't see it, this letter to the DM Register from Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal is an interesting read. If it's true that district leaders had assurances about higher levels of budget funding, I agree with him that it was bad for leaders to stress everyone out with tentative plans to cut all elementary band, massively curtail art/music/PE and so on.
Des Moines students, parents and educators have been ill-served and
badly treated by the scare tactics dished out by Superintendent Nancy
Sebring and members of the Des Moines School Board.
The truth is
that the governor and the state Legislature repeatedly assured school
districts — including a face-to-face meeting with Sebring and school
board member Connie Boesen and chief financial officer Patricia
Schroeder — that K-12 school funding for the next school year would be
at least the governor’s recommended levels.
Ignoring those assurances, Des Moines school officials deliberately
set out to scare parents, teachers and students with doomsday scenarios
that were irresponsible, inflammatory and, well, pure fiction.
Sebring and other school officials conspired to unnecessarily scare families,
teachers, parents and residents of Des Moines with irresponsible budget
scenarios that included chilling stories of record-setting layoffs, the
shuttering of popular programs and other flights of fancy.
Des Moines school officials didn’t tell their constituents was that for
this doomsday scenario to come true, the Legislature would have had to
repeal the 2 percent increase in basic school funding approved last year and reset basic school funding at negative 27 percent to produce the
$33 million reduction. Unbelievable.
The bottom line is that the
governor and Legislature kept their word this session by approving $2.5
billion for K-12 school funding, which is $150 million more than schools received last year.
As the state recovers from the lingering
national recession, Iowans don’t want doomsday scenarios and scare
tactics from our school leaders. Iowans want and deserve honest
— State Sen. Mike Gronstal,