Des Moines — Eric Smith from Independence Community School District attended the Iowa Association of School Board’s (IASB) annual Day on the Hill on Jan. 30, 2018. This is the first year that IASB has collaborated with Parents for Great Iowa Schools, a parental advocacy group, to invite parents to attend training and lobbying at the Capitol as well. Nearly 200 school board members, superintendents and parents from across Iowa traveled to the Iowa State Capitol to make their voices heard on important education issues.
Attendees first met for advocacy training, budget updates and legislative briefings with IASB staff. Governor Kim Reynolds spoke on her education priorities and also answered questions. Two former speakers of the house, Brent Siegrist and Christopher Rants, were on hand to answer questions and offer insights on how to effectively lobby legislators.
Following their morning of training, participants went to the Capitol focused on educating legislators about issues important to Iowa schools:
- Extension of the State Penny for school infrastructure and property tax relief
- Timely and adequate school funding
- A long-term solution to create equity in school transportation funding
- Other issues important to their district
Eric Smith noted that there has never been a more important time to advocate on behalf of public education, and school boards are in a strategic position to do just that. “School board members understand what’s going on in their own district and are able to personalize the issue and draw attention to the needs of Iowa public schools. Legislators don’t always know what’s happening in schools across Iowa—it’s up to locally elected citizens to ensure the issues are brought to light.”