Education Savings Account Legislation Introduced in Iowa Senate
Legislation has been introduced in Des Moines that could create education savings grants – also referred to as education savings accounts or school vouchers.
In summary, the bill:
- Proposes to create Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)/vouchers that use state tax dollars to pay for private education or pay for the costs of homeschooling
- Would make ESAs available starting with the 2019-2020 school year to “eligible students”
- Defines eligible students as:
- ALL kindergarteners who choose private schools or homeschooling
- ALL kids in 1st through 12th grades who attended public schools the previous year (two consecutive semesters) who move into private schools or homeschooling
- Students who received an ESA in a prior year, with a maximum of 5 years of ESA funding per student (In other words, parents can get an ESA for up to 5 years per child unless their student graduates high school before the 5-year max.)
- Would provide nearly $4,000 per year directly to families of private schooled or homeschooled child through an ESA.
- Would allow parents of private or homeschooled children to use ESA money to pay for college tuition.
- Allows funds to be used by families to attend private schools or homeschools that have different accountability standards for standardized testing, public reporting, or required offerings. The bill does not require private schools to admit all students, so they retain the ability to admit (or not admit) any student. The bill states the Department of Education cannot “exercise authority” over private schools or homeschooling families to modify policies.
- Prohibits the Iowa Department of Ed from proposing any laws that create “an undue burden on private schools or homeschoolers”