While the Minnesota Legislature is sitting on the sidelines when it comes to advancing school choice and providing students and families with the opportunity for better education, it’s nice to see our neighbors prioritizing education.
Iowa Gov. Reynolds recently signed the “Students First Act” into law, which makes state education funding available for K-12 students who choose to attend private schools. It also provides public schools with additional categorical funding for students who live in their district but attend private schools, and allows public school districts to use unspent money from some categorical funds to supplement teacher salaries.
With the passage of the Students First Act:
- parents who enroll their eligible children in an accredited private school will receive an amount equal to the per pupil funds allocated by the state to all public school districts each year
- the funds are estimated at $7,598 per pupil for the 2023-2024 school year and will be deposited into an education savings account (ESA)
- the funds can be used for tuition, fees, and other qualified education expenses
From our friends at the State Policy Network:
In a win for Iowa students and their families, the Iowa Governor signed legislation that creates an Education Savings Account (ESA) program in the Hawkeye State. ESAs are state-supervised funds that parents can use to pay for a wide variety of education options. The state government deposits a portion of what the state would have spent to send the child to public school into a private account for parents to spend on education.
Phased in over three years, the law will allow Iowa families to access an ESA of up to $7,598 per year to pay for education-related expenses, including private school tuition.
Like many American children, some Iowa students struggle to access a quality education that sets them up for successful, meaningful life. These students are often from low-income families, who do not have the resources to access options when it comes to their child’s education. This new law gives those families hope—with an ESA in hand, they have the same opportunities as wealthier families when it comes to education.
Jane McEnaney, State Policy Network’s Director of Education Policy Initiatives, added:
“Thousands of parents and guardians in Iowa will rest easier tonight and throughout the year knowing that their child(ren) will have access to the education that best fits and serves their unique needs, regardless of income or zip code.”
John Hendrickson, Policy Director at Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation, an organization that spent years advancing school choice in the state, added:
“This is historic because it builds up previous educational reforms to expand parental choice in Iowa. No longer will a child’s educational opportunity be blocked because of their zip code or socioeconomic status. This bill is not about dollars, but it is about creating life-changing opportunities for families across Iowa.”