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Iowa lawmakers hear public comments on governor's school choice funding plan

The Education Subcommittee in the Iowa Senate passed Senate Study Bill 1022 by a vote of 3-to-2.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Two days after Gov. Kim Reynolds announced her school choice plan, Iowans packed into a public meeting at the statehouse to speak both for and against the proposal.

The measure would set up an education savings account to be used for private school. Once Thursday's meeting of the Iowa Senate Education Subcommittee began, comments continued for around 90 minutes straight.

It marked a constant back-and-forth of those for and against the plans.

"This is $7,500 that can be used to purchase supplies, train teachers, hire school counselors, or go on field trips, make schools safer, or any number of the things that benefit all students in the district," said Amanda Acton, who is against the plan.

"School choice didn't kill public schools in Indiana. It reduced private school enrollment and caused more parents to choose their public schools. Scores went up. Parents had more power," said Dan Zylstra, who is in favor of it.

Republican senators Ken Rozenboom, Amy Sinclair and Brad Zaun signed off on the study bill, moving it out of the subcommittee and to the full Iowa Senate Education Committee.

Democratic senators Molly Donahue and Herman Quirmbach did not approve the legislation.

In the 2023 proposal, Reynolds envisions a three-year rollout, which ultimately leads to $7,598 scholarships being available to all K-12 students. In contrast, the 2022 proposal limited the scholarships to 10,000 students below certain income requirements.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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TIMELAPSE: Public comment period on SSB1022

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