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Iowa Lawmakers Pass Gov. Reynolds’ School Choice Plan

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

The Iowa Legislature passed a bill this week to use funding towards school choice initiatives. The bill will head to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ (R) desk and she will sign it into law.


Reportedly, several Republican lawmakers joined Democrats in opposing the measure, which would phase out over the course of three years. The legislation would allow parents to access up to around $7,500 per year in an Education Savings Account for their child. These funds can then be used on approved education expenses, such as textbooks, tutoring, testing fees, vocational training and private school tuition (via the Des Moines Register): 

After more than five hours of debate Monday evening, House lawmakers voted 55-45 to pass the bill, with nine Republicans defecting to join every Democrat in opposition. Just after midnight, the Senate followed suit with a 31-18 vote to send the bill to Reynolds for her signature. Three Republicans were opposed.

Reynolds waited outside the Senate chamber following the bill's passage, greeting lawmakers with hugs and selfies.

“I am thrilled that both the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate have passed the Students First Act and I look forward to signing it into law later today," she said in a statement early Tuesday morning.


State Rep. John Wills, a Republican, said that the bill is about “freedom.” 

"This bill is about freedom for the family to make a decision. This bill is about where that family feels that child will be best taught. This bill is not about attacking teachers. The opponents of this bill will state that we’re attacking teachers over and over again tonight. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Willis said.

School choice advocate Corey DeAngelis tweeted that “this is the way” to put students first in education. 

This month, Townhall covered how Reynolds began her second term as governor and made her top priority to put students first. Reynolds, along with several other GOP governors, have made student-first education initiatives a top issue.


“Regardless of the reason, every parent should have a choice of where to send their child — and that choice shouldn’t be limited to families who can afford it,” Reynolds said.

"Every student deserves access to the education that is right for them and parents should be empowered to make that decision on behalf of their child, regardless of income or zip code -- the Students First Act helps accomplish that goal," GOP Rep. Ashley Hinson (IA) said in a statement to Townhall. "Governor Reynolds continues to be a champion for Iowa students and understands the importance of parents being in charge of their children's education."

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