DES MOINES, Iowa — The paperwork is signed. The website is updated with details. And a new law is now in effect for private school students in Iowa.
On Tuesday, just two weeks and a day after the legislative session began, Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law a plan to eventually provide all private school families with $7,598 per year for tuition and approved expenses.
The governor called the new law an “amazing day for our children!” She signed the bill before Republican legislators and a few hundred supporters during an event at the Iowa Statehouse.
The bill signing ends a three-year effort by the governor to provide more tax dollars for private school families. Other Republican leaders across the country, including those in Utah and Arkansas, are also working to provide more public dollars for private schools.
In the previous two years, House Republicans in Iowa blocked Reynolds’ much smaller proposals. But this year, with increased Republican majorities, the absence of several lawmakers who opposed the plan last year and Reynolds helped to defeat in a primary, and GOP legislative leaders fast-tracking the legislation by removing some traditional vetting procedures — Reynolds found enough support.
The House and Senate spent nearly 10 hours combined in a debate that lasted from Monday afternoon until early Tuesday morning.
The Legislative Services Agency projected the annual cost of the program to be $345 million when fully implemented with eight percent of students receiving the yearly state money.