Group pushes education as top priority this election

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 10:50 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A group opposed to Governor Reynolds’ voucher plan said next week’s elections were critical to the future of education in Iowa.

Wednesday, Progress Iowa organized what it calls its “Public Dollar for Public Schools Tour.”

Reynolds has said she believed education dollars could best be spent by parents rather than school districts. That was why she supported a statewide school voucher plan that would allow parents to use public money to go to private schools. That bill was voted down this last legislative session with even some Republicans opposed to it.

“It kills me to think they’re going to take money away from the school system,” said Sarah Weibel, a parent of two at Hoover Elementary.

Weibel was one of four speakers. She worried the voucher program would take money from the public schools to fund private schools and leave her daughter without the necessary teachers.

“When we went online, my second-grade daughter fell apart,” she said. “Now, she’s getting the support she needs.”

The voucher program would have taken $55 million of state funding and given it to 10-thousand students to pay for private education. The bill failed to get many rural Republican votes and was ultimately voted down. Since then, the Governor has targeted Republicans who didn’t support the plan. Back in May, we told you the Governor endorsed Barb Mculla over incumbent Assistant Majority leader Jon Thorpe. He voted against the bill.

“I would be lost without our public schools,” said Weibel. “They have helped our family so much.”

On the Governor’s website, the Student First Act allowed parents to have more options when making choices about their student’s education, whether that was private, home school, public, or other learning environments. It was unclear if the bill will return, but Weibel said education needs to be on top of everyone’s mind this election.

“It sickens me to see people wanting to take money away from the public schools when the public schools are fighting so hard for our kids,” said Weibel.