The Iowa House Education Committee passed a number of bipartisan bills out of committee this week, according to District 79 Representative Dustin Hite. Last week, House File 532 advanced out of the full committee, which allocates additional funds to school districts who provided in-person learning to their students starting in August, and in doing so took on added costs. It also helps schools that were unable to be in person due to the derecho, and the bill passed by a 71-26 vote.

Hite says he made a point during his closing comments to highlight what many feel was the substantial unfairness of the federal COVID dollars for our schools. He says Pella schools received $252.86 per student, North Mahaska received $486.32, and Oskaloosa received $1,058.21, while other districts earned upwards of $1,800. According to the Iowa Department of Education, allocation of funds was based on each school district’s eligibility for Title I, Part A funding, a federal program based on the percentage of low-income students served by the district.

Hear more about the 2021 Legislative Session on today’s Let’s Talk Pella.