Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The Mt. Pleasant School Board approved the motion Monday evening to join the Rural School Advocates of Iowa (RSAI).
RSAI is comprised of school leaders from around 70 rural school districts in Iowa who, “share the mission that all students, regardless of zip code, deserve a quality education.”
School superintendents along with school board members come together with the aim to strengthen support for students in rural Iowa school districts that might not have the resources to succeed.
The organization is organized into four territories and each territory has its own representation on the RSAI leadership board and legislative committee. Members come together at a regional meeting to discuss policies and priorities involved in each region.
Mt. Pleasant Community School District falls into the fourth territory, which is encompasses a total of 95 different districts.
The RSAI District Leadership Representative for the district is Brad Breon, who is the Seymour and Moravia superintendent. The Legislative Committee Representative is Dennis Phelps, the superintendent at Tri-County and Pekin.
The RSAI vision follows four distinct goals.
“1. Educating others about the value of rural education to state’s 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.“
Mt. Pleasant Superintendent John Henriksen said this is good for the school district because of the districts unique needs.
“I believe that districts like Mt. Pleasant, some of the needs are just unique,” Henriksen said. “The RSAI has done a great job advocating for transportation equity. I think the swings in enrollment are perhaps even more significant in rural schools, so the idea of having a budget guarantee, instead of a one year guarantee, but perhaps a multiple year budget guarantee so you can make adjustments. You can make adjustments for a longer term. The other thing I like about this, is the lobbyist Dave Dutton was a superintendent. He knows the superintendents and he knows how to communicate these things.”