Today’s virtual House graphic: School funding in Iowa — a 20-year slide

The Iowa House of Representatives voted Monday to deny the ability of lawmakers to use visual aids in debate on the floor. To help Iowans visualize what kinds of graphics might be useful in these debates to illustrate facts, we will offer examples. Here is today’s graphic, to illustrate state trends in Supplemental State Aid, formerly known as “allowable growth,” which governs per-pupil spending growth in local school budgets.

Supplemental State Aid is the basic building block of a school budget, which is tied to enrollment, and is a combination of state funding and local property tax.

It is important to understand that an increase in state aid or per pupil growth, in other words, does not guarantee growth in an individual school district budget. That depends also on enrollment in the district. In some cases, an increase in SSA may still mean an actual decrease in funding available to a district, both in state aid and property tax. The percentages in the graphic above do not necessarily reflect what is happening in a given school district.

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