The Iowa Senate has passed a bill that would let the leaders of Iowa’s community colleges would meet every fall to decide how state funding will be distributed among the 15 institutions.

Senator Tim Kraayenbrink, a Republican of Fort Dodge, said the presidents and chancellors asked to get rid of the distribution formula that’s set in state law. “A hundred percent of the presidents in our community agreed to this change,” Kraayenbrink said. “I think it’s 100% of anyone to agree on anything when it comes to funding for their institutions, so I thought that was fairly impressive.”

While the legislature this year approved a general level of funding that equals about $3500 per student, the money is distributed differently due to the formula.

“That distribution between all of our community colleges come in somewhere between 75% of that $3500 and 170% of that $3500 for some of our schools,” Kraayenbrink said.

Senator Claire Celsi, a Democrat from Des Moines, was the only senator to oppose the plan. “This bill would essentially allow a backroom meeting for community colleges to decide their own funding,” Celsi said.

If the bill becomes law, at least 10 of the 15 community college chief executives would have to agree by October 31 on how state funding in the following academic year would be distributed. If the community college leaders can’t agree, officials in the Iowa Department of Education would make the decision. This plan will have to get House approve and be signed into law by the governor before it could take effect.


Radio Iowa