Six Percent

With the legislative session underway, it is time for our annual supplemental state aid (SSA–formerly known as allowable growth) debate. Governor Branstad has proposed 1.25 percent and 2.45 percent increases for the next two years, others are calling for a six percent increase.

A reader asks, has allowable growth ever been set at six percent? The Legislative Services Agency has the answer for us.

Before we get to that, a few notes. First, with split government,negotiations are to be expected; these are just opening bargaining positions. Second, it is important to remember that the teacher leadership system is being funded at about $100 million this upcoming year and $150 million the following year. If the funds earmarked for TLC were shifted to SSA, SSA could be set at about three times the Governor’s proposal (closer to four percent) for FY2016 and more than twice the Governor’s proposal (close to six percent) for FY2017.

If I thought that I could start a Twitter meme, I might try this one: My district cut ______________, but at least we will have hundreds of teacher-leaders. #6percent #iaedfuture

My district cut elementary orchestra, but at least we will have hundreds of teacher-leaders. #6percent #iaedfuture

My district cut German language, but at least we will have hundreds of teacher-leaders. #6percent #iaedfuture

My district cut keyboarding and general music, but at least we will have hundreds of teacher-leaders. #6percent #iaedfuture

Or maybe: My district cut elementary orchestra, but at least my kid will have more time for computer-based standardized testing. #iaedfuture

But I digress. The answer from the Legislative Services Agency is that in the modern era of allowable growth, it has never been set higher than 4.21 percent.

Allowable growth was adopted in 1992, so I’m using that as the start date of the modern era of allowable growth. Here are the numbers from fiscal years 1992-2015:

  • FY 1992    4.21%
  • FY1993     4.15%
  • FY1994     2.10%
  • FY1995     2.85%
  • FY1996     3.50%
  • FY1997     3.30%
  • FY1998     3.50%
  • FY1999     3.50%
  • FY2000     3.00%
  • FY2001     4.00%
  • FY2002     4.00%
  • FY2003     1.00%
  • FY2004     2.00%
  • FY2005     2.00%
  • FY2006     4.00%
  • FY2007     4.00%
  • FY2008     4.00%
  • FY2009     4.00%
  • FY2010     4.00%
  • FY2011     2.00%
  • FY2012     0.00%
  • FY2013     2.00%
  • FY2014     2.00%
  • FY2015     4.00%
  • FY2016*   1.25%
  • FY2017*   2.45%

*As proposed by the Governor.

The Legislative Services Agency historical allowable growth summary provides data back to FY1973 (and also dollar amounts, if that is of interest). Allowable growth exceeded six percent in fiscal years 1975 to 1981 (a period of high inflation), and again in fiscal years 1983, 1984, and 1991.

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