Grinnell College acted ahead of other colleges and universities in the state when moving students off campus and canceling spring graduation. Now, students are figuring out how to handle that when they return to classes – virtually – from spring break.
This story about immigrant students was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. IowaWatch is the exclusive Iowa partner. Sign up for the Hechinger newsletter. SIOUX CITY, Iowa — The rolling backpack was grey with bright orange zippers. Made by Totto, a popular South American brand, the backpack had been 13-year-old Cristian Rubio’s hand luggage on his flight from Ecuador to the United States a week earlier.
One of the most common types of violence in Iowa’s K-12 schools does not involve fistfights or guns. This form of violence often flies under society’s radar, not receiving attention it should from school boards, the governor, the Legislature, and from the news media. This explosive behavior involves students who go on rampages in classrooms, cursing and screaming at the teacher, tipping over desks, knocking computers, books and other supplies to the floor, and who force the teacher to shoo other students into the hallway for their safety while the teacher tries to persuade the out-of-control student to calm down. Randy Evans
Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. He is a former editorial page editor and assistant managing editor of The Des Moines Register.
Several Iowa school districts have taken on debt the last 17 years, with one district owing as much as $35,448 per student, to handle student enrollment increases but also repairs to aging buildings. The question they face is: how to manage that debt?
Half of all states, including Kansas, pay less than 10 percent of school construction costs. Districts in those states are largely at the mercy of voters to finance new schools and major renovations. Low-wealth districts — particularly in rural areas — struggle to convince voters to do so.
Nationally, school district debt topped $443 billion in 2016. Districts that take on debt but can’t generate dollars through enrollment growth or taxes can struggle to climb out, and often have to take resources away from kids.
BySarah Butrymowicz and Nichole Dobo/The Hechinger Report |
School district administrators and school boards typically turn to outside advisers and underwriters when issuing bonds. But relying on outsiders puts districts in a vulnerable position, one in which they sometimes get bad deals with high interest rates and fees.
Ed tech bonds are part of an emerging shift in how schools are thinking about paying for technology. Yet it’s an approach that some observers say not only violates the principle of taxpayer-financed debt, but exacerbates inequities for schools in communities lacking the municipal wealth of their higher-income counterparts.
Colorado’s share-the-pain approach to pension reform is one that more states may turn to as they seek to prevent their pension funds from going bankrupt. Such changes could further depress teacher pay and crowd out money for school supplies and building repairs, but there are no simple alternative solutions in sight.
Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds says enough state money will exist to pay for projects she proposed last week during her annual Condition of the State address. IowaWatch interviewed her and responding Democrats for this podcast report.