an introduction Who is RSAI? We are school leaders from nearly 70 rural school districts in Iowa who share the mission that all students, regardless of zip code, deserve a quality education. We bring together school superintendents and school board members with a clear goal to
strengthen support for the education of students in rural Iowa schools. http://rsaia.org/ Organization of RSAI RSAI is organized into 4 territories of the state Each territory has representation on the RSAI leadership board and legislative committee
Regional meetings bring together RSAI members for important policy development and priority setting The following slide shows the boundaries of the RSAI territories. RSAI Leadership A. RSAI District Leadership Representatives Southwest - Gregg Cruickshank/Sidney and South Page Superintendent
Northeast - LeeAnn Grimley/Springville Board President Southeast - Brad Breon/Seymour and Moravia Superintendent Northwest - Bob Olson/Clarion-Goldfield-Dows Superintendent B. RSAI Legislative Committee Representatives Southwest Willie Stone/Villisca & Corning Superintendent Northeast Nick Trencamp/Central Superintendent Southeast Dennis Phelps/Tri-County & Pekin Superintendent Northwest Tara Paul/Estherville Lincoln Central Superintendent C. At-Large Representatives - on Leadership Group & liaison to Legislative Representatives
Dan Smith/Harmony Board Presdient Brian Rodenburg/Midland Superintendent Kevin Fiene/I-35 Superintendent RSAI Mission & Vision RSAI Mission and Vision RSAI will advocate for students in rural schools to assure a fair, equal, and quality education.
RSAI Mission and Vision RSAI Vision: Member schools will collaborate to promote legislation that strengthens rural education for students, by; 1. Educating others about the value of rural education to the states economy and future of Iowa as an educational leader in the nation and the world; 2. Building capacity and understanding of other groups with similar interests on legislative and educational issues to build a
stronger voice; 3. Securing adequate resources, academic and financial, to provide first class educational opportunities for rural students; and 4. Maintaining local control through the flexibility and authority of locally elected School Boards. Why RSAI? What do we do?
We advocate for students in rural schools championing the resources and commitment of Iowans to deliver a quality education to all students. We support legislation and activities that strengthen and build a foundation of opportunity and stability for students in rural schools. We recruit other individuals and organizations to advocate with a common purpose. We tell the stories of school successes for students from rural
schools. Does Iowa Need a specific advocacy voice for Rural Schools? Why do Rural Schools need RSAI? Other organizations do a fine job of advocating for all schools and students, however, we have unique needs and interests that compel us to work together:
Transportation costs well above the state average Growing numbers of students in low-income families Declining enrollments that stress the budget Need for flexibility and incentives to promote efficient use of resources Less resource while compliance with state law becomes more complicated Need for adequate funding that supports delivery of educational opportunities to students in rural communities Legislators from rural communities will identify with, trust and
understand us. Our very existence will strengthen the voice of the entire education community as we work together for interests in common and interests critical to rural school survival. Other Advocacy Coalition Models There are many organizations that advocate for Iowa Agriculture, which proves a good example. Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Iowa Corn Growers Association
Iowa Soybean Association Iowa Cattlemens Association Iowa Farmers Union IA/Nebraska Farm Implement Dealers Association Iowa Pork Producers Association Iowa Poultry Association In many, many instances, these organizations have similar positions on important legislation and work together for its passage or defeat. When
they do agree, they have many voices close to different legislators that can help deliver the necessary vote for success. RSAI Expectations: Strength in Numbers RSAI bylaws indicate that membership in RSAI is not intended to replace membership in other education advocacy organizations RSAI encourages school boards to join IASB, superintendents are encouraged to join SAI, etc.
RSAI leaders will work with education and other organizations to garner support for RSAI priorities. Some examples of our successes follow: 2014 RSAI Legislative Priorities Legislative priority: Management Fund Use for Early Retirement over aged 65 Accomplished April 2014* *http://ruralstudentadvocates.blogspot.com/2014/03/
advocacy-matters-story-of-sf-220-early.html 2015 RSAI Legislative Priorities Transportation Equity of Funding: Conversation started: 6 bills introduced in the House Education Committee and legislative approval of an Interim Committee in 2015 to study inequities including transportation. Use of PPEL and SAVE Funds for Repairs Accomplished May 2015 with passage of HF 646 allowing use of PPEL or SAVE for bus repair and maintenance in excess of $2,500.
Increased Flexibility for At-Risk Students Progress seen in July 2015 with passage of HF 658 which allows dropout prevention funds to be spent on at-risk students, granting increased flexibility State Penny Extension/Repeal of Sunset: Partial progress as SF 477 was approved by the full Senate, 37:13 and is sitting in the House Ways and Means Committee, still alive for discussion in the 2016 Session. 2016 RSAI Legislative Priorities approved October 7, 2016
Transportation Equity State Penny for School Infrastructure Extension Funding and Flexibility for At-risk Students Standards, Assessment and Technology State Supplemental Assistance 6% Operational Sharing Incentives Equality in the formula (District cost per pupil)
RSAI Resources RSAI has enlisted the assistance of Larry Sigel and Margaret Buckton at ISFIS in data analysis, organizational work, membership and legislative analysis regarding development of RSAI priorities and lobbying services. Web site http://rsaia.org/ Web site includes research about quality of
education in rural schools, rural school challenges, and listing of rural school stories in the media Questions http://rsaia.org/
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