School Choice May Have to Wait

Mar 30, 2017

A tight state budget may mean a delay in one of the Branstad administration’s top legislative priorities. The issue of school choice for Iowa parents may have to wait for a brighter budget forecast.

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds appears before the Iowa Board of Education
Credit Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio

Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds says the establishment of an education savings fund to help families pay for private education may not happen this session.

“We’re working with the Legislature," she says. "It’s been a tough budget year. We have another tough budget year in ’18. We begin to pull out of it in ’19. So, they’re going to continue to look at those areas. It’s just the art of what’s possible in a really tight budget.”

She and the governor are behind a plan to fund an Education Savings Account to help families afford private schools. Reynolds tells the Iowa Board of Education she also understands the need to support public schooling.

“You know, we need both," she says. "We need strong public schools, and we also shouldn’t be afraid of giving parents the opportunity to choose where they send their students.”

Iowa is one of 31 states considering the creation or expansion of school choice programs. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has a history of advocating for such efforts.