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Iowa governor discusses ‘school choice’ plan

Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 6:25 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) - Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds used a Des Moines area catholic grade school as the backdrop to tout her “school choice” plan, Tuesday.

Outlined by the governor at her “condition of the state” address, last month, “school choice” would give per-pupil education funding, allocated to public schools, to low- and middle-income families, to allow them to afford tuition at a private school or another educational opportunity.

Families are eligible for what the governor calls “student first scholarships,” if their household income is below 400-percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, the most a family can make, and still qualify, is $106,000.

In that case, 70-percent of the per-pupil funding, about $5,300, would be deposited into an “education savings account” for the family to spend on private school tuition, home schooling curricula, or other qualifying educational costs. The remaining 30-percent would stay in the state to be reallocated to smaller, often rural school districts.

“This bill is thoughtfully designed to give parents a choice while at the same time preserving the vitality of public schools,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds, (R) Iowa. “School choice has the potential to raise the quality of all schools.”

If the bill passes and is signed by the governor, the “student first scholarships” would be capped at 10,000 in the first year. They would be divided equally among students, who qualify based on income requirements, and those with an “individualized educational plan”.

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