The Iowa Legislature is currently debating proposed legislation that would create a school voucher program in Iowa (being referred to in the bill as Student First Scholarships).
The bill may be debated in the senate in the next few days and could move to the house sometime next week. Now is the time for action.
If passed, this fund would siphon dollars from the state’s already underfunded public schools and would further create a system in which the playing field is not level for all PreK-12 educational institutions.
The Dubuque Community School District strongly opposes this legislation and we hope you will consider advocating in opposition to it as well.
KEY TALKING POINTS
- Student First Scholarships are the wrong public policy for Iowa and an inappropriate use of public tax dollars.
- 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 allows for outside entities and private organizations to charter a school in our district, without consent of our locally elected School Board. The charter school is 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.
View the Iowa Association of School Boards Vouchers Toolkit for additional information and tips for advocating in opposition of school vouchers.
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 29
- Sen. Pam Jochum, Iowa Senate District 89
- Rep. Lindsay James, Iowa House District 99
- Rep. Steven Bradley, Iowa House District 58
- Rep. Chuck Isenhart, Iowa House District 100
- Rep. Shannon Lundgren, Iowa House District 57
You can also register your opposition with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.