New Iowa Legislative committee a sign school vouchers are imminent

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 12:46 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - In a signal Iowa Republicans will look to implement a school voucher system in Iowa, a new Iowa House committee will tackle “significant reforms to our educational system”.

Iowa Speaker of the House Pat Grassley included the committee in an annual announcement of chairs for legislative committees. In it, Rep. Grassley (R-New Hartford) appoints himself as chair of the brand new Education Reform Committee, saying it will deal “with bills containing significant reforms to our educational system”. House committees typically are the first stop for bills introduced in the legislature to face intimate discussions before going to a full chamber for debate and vote.

The new committee comes amid speculation Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will push through her plan for a school voucher system for Iowa. The proposal would allow families to pull state tax dollars away from public schools to use instead on private school tuition. Reynolds says that would increase competition to improve Iowa’s education system by giving parents greater choice in where they send their children. Several superintendents spoke out against the plan, though, worried it would mean funding cuts for Iowa’s schools.

That plan was blocked last session as some Republicans in rural areas questioned if it would particularly hurt rural school districts where few private school options are available. In response, Reynolds campaigned and helped push out several of those Republicans in primaries in June.

After Iowa Gov. Reynolds’ Republican Party won a sweeping victory in Iowa’s midterm elections, winning a supermajority in the Iowa Senate, growing its majority in the Iowa House and capturing all state executive offices except Auditor, the voucher plan is expected to be high on the priority list when the new session starts in January.