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 Dubuque Community School District opposes the creation or expansion of programs/plans that redirect or designate additional taxpayer funds for private school, homeschooling or other private services.
We hope you will consider advocating in opposition to school vouchers as well.
Investments in education savings accounts, voucher programs, school tuition organizations or homeschool:
- 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.
KEY TALKING POINTS
- 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.
- Use public dollars for public schools, period. 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.
- A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program: This voucher program may start small, but as we’ve seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.
CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR
The following legislators represent areas served by the Dubuque Community School District. For a complete directory of legislators, view the FIND YOUR LEGISLATOR tool on the Iowa Legislature website.
- Sen. Carrie Koelker, Iowa Senate District 33
- Sen. Pam Jochum, Iowa Senate District 36
- Rep. Lindsay James, Iowa House District 71
- Rep. Steven Bradley, Iowa House District 66
- Rep. Chuck Isenhart, Iowa House District 72
- Rep. Shannon Lundgren, Iowa House District 65
You can also register your opposition with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.