Gov. Reynolds signs education funding bill at Davenport Central-UPDATED

Published: Mar. 8, 2018 at 4:17 PM CST
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UPDATE: In a statement from Governor Reynold's Press Secretary Brenna Smith, Smith says the governor's office had absolutely nothing to do with students not being allowed into the bill signing. She says the school made all the decisions about who was in attendance.

ORIGINAL: Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed Senate File 455 in the Davenport Central Auditorium Thursday Afternoon.

The new law appropriates $14.1 million next school year to deliver greater equity in education spending and school bus transportation.

It means the Davenport district will initially see a $5 per pupil increase beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

The bill will also appropriate $11.2 million for a transportation equity plan that offers relief to school districts with the highest transportation costs in the state.

The measure also includes a 1 percent increase in state funding for education.

Governor Reynolds says the bill is a good start in a "tough budget year."

"The fact that we were able to do something, I think its a great start," The Governor told TV-6 in an one on one interview. "I hope they see it that way. Even in tough budget times, we've put additional funding into K-12 education, we've addressed the per pupil spending equity and transportation."

School leaders and students call it a step in the right direction.

"We consider the signing of this bill into a law to be a promise, a commitment by our elected leaders to continue to work to provide equitable funding for all students in Iowa," said School Board President Ralph Johanson.

Anthony Desalvo has been fighting for a per pupil increase in spending since his Freshman year at Davenport North, he's now graduated from High School but came back for the signing.

"The next step is to keep on the gas," he said. "At this point its a five dollar increase per student per year. So, it's going to take quite a few years to get up to that 175 dollar difference. But, if we can keep this momentum going and maybe a bigger increase next year and a bigger increase after that. That would be wonderful to see."

Davenport Supt. Dr. Art Tate famously dipped into reserve funds in years passed to make up for the lack of funding per pupil for the Davenport District.

He was not at the signing today. When asked where he was, a Davenport School Spokesperson said "I don't know."

Only around 15 students were in the mainly empty auditorium. Since tweeting about the lack of students in attendance, we've received dozens of tweets and messages saying most students were not allowed in.

When asked why there were so few students in the auditorium that same school spokesperson said she didn't know why. We have since called and left her a message about students not being allowed in.

As of 4:15 on Thursday Afternoon, she has not called us back.