One of the primary roles of parents is to be involved in and direct the formal education of their children. There are many ways to accomplish this but those without the income to access more than one option lack that basic, fundamental right. The best way we know how to ensure every parent has access to what is best for their child is through Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). ESAs will allow parents who choose not to enroll their children in a public school to receive a deposit of public funds into a savings account set up by the state. This money could be used by parents for private school tuition and some other education expenses including tutoring, giving parents the ability to customize their child’s education to meet his/her needs.
Iowa has increased public school funding annually, while maintaining school choice programs such as the School Tuition Organization tax credits. IACS supports the state’s commitment to public and non-public education. We are not advocating that parents wanting to utilize a non-public option be given every financial resource available to the public system. We are simply asking that the state allow a portion of those resources to follow the student to ensure every Iowa parent has every available quality option at their disposal.
School choice will not lead to money being “siphoned away from public education and given to private education providers.” No state or local funding for public schools would be diverted to this program. ESAs would be funded by a separate appropriation by the legislature.
Senate File 372 was introduced this week and has passed the Senate Education Committee’s subcommittee. It is now eligible for debate in the full Education Committee. We encourage you to contact members of the Senate Education Committee and Senate leadership in support of an ESA program which would be accessible to as many parents as possible. Rewrite the sample message in your own words and keep your comments positive.
Thank you for your willingness to engage on this issue!