Governor Terry Branstad will be announcing today that Iowa schools will not be allowed to have budgetary growth for the next two years. Columbus Community School Superintendent Rich Bridenstine says this is not good news since they are still dealing with last years budget cuts. Bridenstine says a 0% increase means that there will be no increase in the value of a student. He says when the value of a student increases it helps to offset declining enrollment. About two thirds of school districts in Iowa currently have declining enrollment. Bridenstine says they already have other costs going up including insurance, negotiations, and state and federal demands. He says it is going to put a lot of school districts into stressed positions. Bridenstine says there is not much that schools will be able to do and one of the only options is firing teachers, though he notes there are a few other options like cutting back on the use of electricity, supplies, and changing bus routes. Most times though, he says it means increased class sizes and a decrease in class offerings. Bridenstine says he thinks the mandate will lead to some schools consolidating though he doesn’t see that happening in the South East Iowa area.
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