Standing Strong for Public Education
Update January 26 2023--
Iowa Governor Reynolds signed into law the establishment of Educational Savings Accounts (often called vouchers) that will be awarded to families of K-12 students who attend private or religious institutions. This funding will be diverted from public schools. This will have an impact on our Council Bluffs Community School District resources in the future, based on the number of children we serve in our public schools.
The school district remains optimistic that our families will continue to choose our school district, with so many opportunities for academic and extracurricular enrichment, college credit, career pathway experiences and a system of support for each student to exceed their potential.
Original story (created 1/22/23)
The Iowa Legislature is currently considering a bill that would divert public funding to individuals who attend private schools.
School Vouchers are Wrong for Iowa
The Iowa Legislature is again discussing proposed legislation that would create a school voucher program in Iowa, often being referred to as Education Savings Accounts.
Now is the time for action.
Iowa already has significant school choice in its public schools and the Council Bluffs Community School District opposes the creation or expansion of programs/plans that redirect or designate additional taxpayer funds for private schools, homeschooling or other private services.
District residents are welcome to advocate in opposition to school vouchers.
Investments in education savings accounts, voucher programs, school tuition organizations or homeschooling:
- Remove resources from public schools,
- Lack accountability for expenditures, requirements to educate all children or provide special education services, and
- Are hidden from the public oversight that should come with tax dollars.
Iowa already has a wide range of school choice options for parents and students, including: in-district transfer, district-to-district public school open enrollment, charter schools, strong non-public schools, home school options, publicly funded School Tuition Organization tax credits.
Parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.
The public’s investment should be used to support public community schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socio-economic status and disability. These same expectations do not exist for private educational institutions in our state.
This bill creates incentives for outside entities and private organizations to establish a private school in our district, without consent of our locally elected School Board. Private schools are then given freedom from regulations that our school district must follow. Why not instead give our public schools flexibility and funding to be innovative?
Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board, are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and are transparent with all expenditures and decision-making. Private and religious schools are not held to that same public standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used, but are left in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.
Find Iowa House of Representatives names and email addresses online here.