Gov. Reynolds has introduced the “Students First Act” in the Iowa House and Senate to provide Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) for parents to help pay for tuition to a nonpublic school. It’s important to contact your members of the Iowa House and Senate as soon as possible in support of parental choice in education. They are waiting to hear from you!
For students currently attending a nonpublic school, the plan will be phased in, focusing first on the families with the lowest income levels. After three years, an ESA would be available for every student. The amount of the ESA is proposed to be $7,598 in the first year, the same amount of money the state provides for each child who attends a public school. (Although public schools also receive additional money from local property taxes and federal sources).
The plan is estimated to cost about $107 million the first year. Currently about $8.4 billion is spent on public education funding in Iowa. Under the proposal, public schools would be allowed to use unspent funds in specific areas to increase teacher salaries, and some supplemental funds would be available to the public school for each student who would receive an ESA.
In Senate Study Bill 1022 and House Study Bill 1, any public school student and any incoming kindergartener would qualify to receive an ESA in the fall of 2023 and in future years.
- In 2023, current Catholic school students would qualify for an ESA if the family income is at or below 300% of the federal poverty level ($83,250 for a family of four).
- In 2024, current Catholic school students would qualify if the family income is at or below 400% of the federal poverty level, ($111,000 for a family of four).
- In 2025, all Catholic school students would qualify.
Please send a message to your members of the Iowa House and Senate today in support of the proposal. Here’s a link to the sample message: https://www.votervoice.net/ICC/Campaigns/99744/Respond
Rewrite the sample message in your own words from your heart and keep your comments positive. Thank you for your help!