DES MOINES – Governor Kim Reynolds signed the school choice bill Tuesday and it only specifies funding for public and private schools. But there is another type of schooling left out of the conversation: Homeschooling.
Aaron Neely, the Executive Director of Homeschool Iowa, said that homeschooling has soared in popularity over the past few years.
“Homeschooling has grown a lot since 2020 and the lockdowns that came along with COVID. It’s been a sort of slow growth since homeschooling was first legalized in the state of Iowa in the early 90s but we’ve seen exponential growth in the past few years,” Neely said.
Neely estimates that 5% of families in the state participate in some form of homeschooling. Currently, there is little state funding for them.
“The state of Iowa already has some excellent benefits in place along those lines a few years ago they passed the tuition and textbook tax credit which allows homeschool and certain families to deduct education expenses,” Neely said.
The tax credit is only $500 a year. The vouchers in the recent School Choice Bill are offered in the form of an Educational Savings Account or ESA. When it comes to parents who homeschool ESA’s, are complicated.
“Education spending accounts in the homeschooling community tend to be controversial. You have one part of the homeschooling community that would very much like to see state assistance and another part that would really prefer to keep the government relationship as distant as possible and therefore doesn’t want any type of financial assistance from the state of Iowa. Homeschool Iowa has taken a neutral position to ESA’s,” Neely said.
To learn more about the specifics of homeschooling in the state, visit Homeschool Iowa’s website.