Recent weather in Iowa has been extreme.  Thursday was the coldest day in 19 years in Des Moines: -21 degree temperatures broke the previous record low temperature for Jan. 30. Thanks to the first responders, firefighters and police officers, and everyone who must work outside in the dangerous cold, for your service to our community.

Iowa was once known as a model for education in the country. However, over the last decade state funding for schools hasn’t kept up with rising costs and has led to school closings, rising class sizes and fewer opportunities for students. 

National studies indicate that lower class sizes have an impact on student performance in crucial early grades. Expanding access to preschool is an important step in students entering school ready to learn.

It is essential that we find a way to make education in Iowa a model for the country again.

Only once in the previous nine years has supplemental state aid funding (SSA) for our schools increased by more than the rate of inflation. I will be supporting a bill that increases SSA funding by 3 percent. This would be a start to reversing the declines we’ve seen over the past several years from low funding.

I also support expanding access to quality preschool. Preschool saves taxpayer money in the long run by dramatically improving the likelihood of success in school and a job later in life.

I’m hopeful we can work together and find bipartisan support for these ideas this legislative session. Our kids deserve it, and it is the key to producing a highly skilled workforce. 

As always, please reach out with your thoughts and concerns. I look forward to hearing from you.

STATE REP. KARIN DERRY, D-Johnston, represents District 39, which includes Johnston, Grimes, Urbandale Precinct 4, Webster Township and Jefferson Township. She can be reached at [email protected] or 515-281-3221.

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