Senator Amy Sinclair

The Senate Education Committee has given unanimous approval to a bill that would make some adjustments in the way state tax dollars are distributed to public school districts.

“The student’s zip code should not dictate the quality of their education,” says

of Allerton, the committee’s chair.

One part of the bill proposes incremental increases in state support of geographically large districts with huge busing costs.

“The transportation equity piece, over the course of 10 years, will fully fund the transportation costs of every single district,” Sinclair says.

The other part of the bill will equalize per pupil spending.

“That’s a hold-over from when the current funding formula was developed. There were some districts that were above what the state determined would be the state cost per pupil and so they were allowed to levy up to $175 per student over what the state cost per pupil was in property taxes,” Sinclair says. “…It is just a built-in inequity to property taxpayers, to the students who are there. It needed to be addressed.”

School officials in Davenport especially have complained that calculation set decades ago means other districts get to spend more on each student than Davenport is allowed. Some legislators say they’re concerned by the $15-to-20 million price tag for the “fix” to this problem.