Statehouse Subject: Bill would clarify spending for at-risk programs

A bill working its way through the Senate would amend a section of Iowa code to allow money that schools receive for at-risk student programming to be used to pay staff in those programs.

Senate File 2358 is sponsored by Sen. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull.

The proposed bill would clarify that funds school districts receive from the state to run programs to prevent at-risk students from dropping out of school could be used for “salary and benefits for instructional staff, instructional support staff, guidance counselors, and school-based youth services staff.”

It would also amend the code to say that funds for programs that address truancy, absences and tardiness could be used for the staff for those programs.

Districts would also have the authority to determine the portion of the staff person’s time, salary and benefits is used for the programs.

Iowa code already details that funds for the programs could be used for professional development for the teachers and staff working with at-risk students and programs that hope to prevent student dropout.

Funds can also already be used for the program materials, software and other supplies for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

The bill was sent Feb. 22 to the Appropriations Subcommittee.

Lobbyist for the Iowa Association of School Boards are registered in favor of the bill. Other groups including the Iowa State Education Association and the Iowa School Counselors Association are registered as undecided. No one is registered as opposed.

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