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Education

Consequences for Illegal Spending

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Despite facing severe penalties, the Davenport school board continues to support its superintendent in his decision to spend more money than state law allows. On Monday night the board discussed the possible consequences of the dispute that could ultimately lead to a state take-over of the district. 

Board president Ralph Johanson says the School Budget Review Committee has rejected Davenport's spending plan, and the Department of Education has filed an ethics complaint against Superintendent Art Tate. 

"Our hope of course is that the legislature will come through with meaningful legislation that makes all of what we've done not so bad, maybe not even illegal, and that there's a way for us to keep the superintendent on board."

Iowa's decades-old school funding formula forces Davenport and other districts to spend up to 175 dollars less per student than many other districts in the state. And the legislature has so far resisted calls to change it. 

Johanson says the state could revoke Doctor Tate's license, and then the board would have to terminate his contract. Board members could also be sued for allowing the illegal spending, and also removed from office - leaving the state in charge of the Davenport schools.