First discussed in October, Department of Education Director Jason Glass announced that Iowa would be submitting an application for a waiver from some of the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The director announced this past week that the application was, in fact, submitted.
Forty-one states had announced plans to submit a waiver application by one of the three deadlines the federal Department of Education set forth. The first round earlier this year saw 11 applicants, of which all 11 were accepted. Iowa was in the second round with 25 other states that submitted their applications in late February.
Glass has tied much of the success of the waiver to the education reform bill that currently sits before the House. The three principles required by the federal DE and included in some form in the reform bill are: Adopt college- and career-ready standards for all students; redesign the accountability system to fairly identify successes and target supports to schools that are struggling; and improve evaluation and support systems for teachers and administrators.
Much of what was recommended by the governor in the bill was left intact after the education committee amended it last week, but some elements have changed and may continue to change going forward. The director has stated that eliminating too many provisions in the bill may cause him to pull his waiver request, but changes made in committee did not cause that to occur yet.
It will likely be next month at the earliest that Iowa will hear from the federal level about the application.
DHS fuzzy math
Only in government could an increase of $70 million be called a "cut," but that is what the Department of Human Services is attempting to portray with their analysis of the Health and Human Services budget proposal.
In a memo sent to the members of the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday this past week, the Department of Human Services provided their "analysis" of the impact of the budget changes in House Study Bill 661. Just as happened in the Committee meeting on Monday, there are serious issues with the veracity of the Department's claims.
In Medicaid, the House Republican proposal increases funding $36.2 million. Annual funding is raised to $946.2 million for FY 2013, which is just $12.5 million below the Governor's level. According to the Department, this difference of 1.3 percent will require it to implement an across the board rate cut to all Medicaid providers of 8.7 percent. That would result in a reduction in state spending of $63.1 million, not $12.5 million. Interestingly, that amount is close to the total increase the Department claims they are being shorted.
There are several other parts of the DHS budget analysis that don't add up. As we move through the budget process hopefully some of these discrepancies can be resolved.
It's rare that a highly debated bill gets bi-partisan support. It's even more rare for a budget bill. This past week, House Republicans proposed a Justice Systems Appropriation Bill that did just that. By a vote of 69-30 HF 2335 passed the House and is now waiting for action from the Senate.
House File 2335 spends $504.5 million from the General Fund. The money appropriated in this budget is used to cover costs of the Attorney General, the Department of Corrections, Community Based Corrections, the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, State Public Defender, Board of Parole, Department of Public Defense, Department of Public Safety, Gaming Enforcement, and the Civil Rights Commission. All budgets are the same as FY12, except for the Attorney General and the Civil Rights Commission, both of which were reduced by 10%. The impact on both of these groups is expected to be minimal.
House Republicans worked hard to ensure that needs of all departments were met within the budget target. It's difficult to get bi-partisan support on budget bills, but HF 2335 was supported by 13 Democrats who agreed that the House Republicans budget was the right course of action.
It is now up to the Senate to review HF 2335 and determine if they will meet the House recommendations or propose a different budget. If the Senate does not agree with the House the bill will be sent back to the House for further negotiation.
Contact Rep. Deyoe at (515) 382-2352, or send an email to: