DES MOINES, Iowa — Less than 12 hours after the Iowa Senate passed the governor’s school choice bill, Gov. Kim Reynolds was signing it into law.
Reynolds stood in the rotunda on Tuesday morning, surrounded by hundreds of supporters of the new school choice legislation. It allows families to get $7,600 yearly in educational savings accounts for their students enrolling in a private school.
The Head of Schools at Pella Christian spoke during the governor’s remarks before she signed the legislation. He said that this will allow families worrying about bills to not worry about their child’s education.
“What it really means is the families right now that struggle to afford Christian education, you know, these are the families that are deciding whether or not to give their kids braces or making difficult financial choices with their money,” said Dan Zylstra. “This is going to allow them to afford the Christian education that they desire.”
Into the late hours of Monday night, into Tuesday morning, Senate Democrats fought back against the legislation. One state senator said that the bill was not about helping students, but further political careers.
“It’s because the stakes for Kim Reynolds and her political career are much higher. She has made a commitment to her national Republican governor base colleagues to use Iowa as a petri dish for her Frankenstein voucher experiment,” said State Senator Claire Celsi, (D) from West Des Moines, District 16.
A single mother was at the bill signing on Tuesday. She said that she enrolled her daughters in private school once the pandemic hit and public schools shut down.
“Just the opportunity for them to go to school, no masks, you know, to be able to socialize with other kids and have the, just to be normal, you know, none of us felt normal,” said Robyn Conley. “I work two jobs just to have them go. So it does mean a lot for me. Obviously, I’m excited for the other families, but I work hard for them to go to this school.”
The educational savings accounts will be available for certain students for the upcoming 2023-24 school year.