Overspending in the Davenport School District leads to ethics complaint

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- On the heels of Davenport's superintendent Art Tate requesting more money to spend on the district's students, the Iowa Department of Education has filed an ethics complaint.

Tate requested additional spending from the School Budget Review Committee. According to Department of Education spokesperson Staci Hupp, Tate asked to increase the district spending limit by $1.6 million. The request was denied because the district overspent in violation of the law and indicated it intends to continue doing so.  Hupp also noted that the budget committee cannot authorize spending.

The State of Iowa gives school districts a certain amount to spend per student. Tate has previously expressed an issue with Iowa's education funding. He noted that Davenport's district was getting "less per pupil funding... than in other districts."  In addition, he previously accused legislators of discriminating against the district by not changing the way funds are distributed in Iowa.

In a statement from June of 2015, Tate said that he was "ready to face the serious consequences resulting from exceeding state-imposed allowable spending limits."

Hupp said that when the Department of Education is made aware of misconduct, such as unauthorized or excessive spending, they are obligated to file a complaint with the Board of Educational Examiners.

A complaint, which mentions Tate's name, was filed on Wednesday, December 14, 2016.

It is now up to the Board of Examiners to decide how to proceed with an investigation into the complaint.  As for Tate's spending request, the committee suggested that Davenport leaders direct their concerns to the Iowa legislature.