February 14, 2017

Facts about Iowa’s Public Schools and Iowa’s Students

The Facts About Iowa’s Public Schools and Iowa’s Students

  • All state residents are entitled to free public K-12 education up to age 21.
  • Each local school district in Iowa must offer a complete education in all grades from kindergarten through 12th grade.
  • Iowa school districts range from small rural districts serving hundreds of students to larger urban districts serving many thousands. Our schools must manage to meet the specific needs of the students in their district.
  • Public schools must meet a range of state education standards and performance goals, as well as fiscal accountability measures for effective and efficient use of all public school funds.

We are all Iowa public schools

  • 338: Number of Iowa school districts. All districts must be accredited by the state Department of Education in order to remain in operation.
  • 1,364: Number of public school buildings.
  • 34,725: Public school teachers. All classroom teachers must be properly licensed and certified in their subject area.
  • 482,004: The number of public school students in the state of Iowa, grades K-12; that’s 92 percent of all grade-school students in the state. There are 32,331 non-public/alternative school students, or 6 percent of all state students, and approximately 10,000, or 2 percent, of homeschool students.  Those 8 percent of Iowa students enrolled in private or home schools receive $52 million each year in Iowa taxpayer funded direct assistance and tax credits.
  • 22.6: The percent of Iowa students who are of minority racial or ethnic descent

Iowa public schools funding is below the national average

  • 28: The national ranking of Iowa in spending per student. In 2014, Iowa spent $10,668 per student (adjusted for inflation), lower than the national average of $11,009.
  • 16.3: The percentage of total state spending going toward K-12 public education. This percentage is lower than the national average of 19.3%, the plains states region average of 19.7%, and neighboring Minnesota, which spends 25.2% of its total state spending on K-12 public education.
  • 13: The percent of Iowa public school students funded at or above the national average
  • History of Iowa Public Education Funding

Despite low funding, Iowa public school students and teachers continue to succeed

  • 90.8: Graduation rate of Iowa public school students (1st in the nation)
  • 22.1: The average ACT composite score for Iowa students, above the national average of 20.8