One job of the Cedar Rapids Board of Education is to advocate for our students and staff, and on Tuesday, February 13, they did just that! The board members and superintendent Dr. Tawana Grover spoke for public education at the state capitol. Board President Cindy Garlock and Board Vice President David Tominsky also had the opportunity to testify in front of the Senate Education Committees on behalf of Cedar Rapids Community School District and other large urban districts. They shared their insights and testimony, allowing our local school district’s voice to be heard and ensuring decision-makers genuinely understand how their actions impact our students.

“Our team is deeply grateful for the opportunity to speak with our Linn County legislators about the needs of our district, especially during an important time when three education bills were being reviewed in a subcommittee,” commented Cindy Garlock, CRCSD Board of Education President.

The CRCSD Board has three pressing issues that they are advocating for –

  • Adequate school funding through the State Supplemental Aid. School funding must keep up with inflation and the increased cost of living. From 1973 through 2010, there were only six years when the state legislature didn’t approve more than a 3% increase in school funding. In contrast, state aid has only been above 3% once since 2011. 80% of our district’s State Supplemental Aid goes toward staff salaries. We cannot provide adequate salaries and raises to retain and recruit teachers and staff without adequate funding. Iowa ranks 35th in the nation for education state funding and 27th for average teacher salaries.
  • Fully fund all-day preschool. Currently, the state provides funding for half-day preschool programs for 4-year-olds. However, half-day programs can be a barrier for working families who need help finding child care before or after or transportation for their child. Preschool is essential and plays a crucial role in early language development. Kids who attend a high-quality preschool are 35% less likely to drop out of school, 40% less likely to become a teen parent, 50% less likely to be placed in special education, and 70% less likely to be arrested for a violent crime. Therefore, our Board is asking the State to consider fully funding full-day preschool programs to allow us to continue offering quality education to our young learners.
  • Increase supplemental weighted funding to adequately fund special education, English Language Learning, and at-risk students. The district continues to see an increase in the number of students who fall into these three categories, and our current Special Education Funding and ELL funding are running at a large deficit. We need to increase the funding for these programs to provide the services and resources that all of our students need.

Check out the video below to learn more about the CRCSD Board of Education’s legislative priorities. The decisions made by the Iowa legislature impact our school district and the education of Iowa’s 487,000 public school students. Help advocate for our students by contacting your state legislators and asking them to provide the necessary funding for their success. You can find your legislators’ contact information by clicking here.