February 04, 2023

Governor Reynolds outlines Education Savings Accounts

By Jon Dunwell

On Tuesday Governor Reynolds gave her Condition of the State speech. Within her speech she discussed her education plans. The number one issue is school choice. Governor Reynolds Student First Act will set up an Education Savings Account (ESA) Program. For parents who choose to enroll their children in an accredited private school, they will receive $7,598, which is the amount of per pupil funds allocated annually by the state, to use for tuition, fees, textbooks, tutoring, curriculum or material costs, online education programs, vocational or life skills training, standardized test fees, and educational services for students with disabilities.

Funds will be deposited into an ESA each year until students graduate or turn 20 years of age, whichever is sooner. At that time, all remaining balances are returned to the state general fund.

Here is the eligibility breakdown:

Year 1 (2023-2024):

• All kindergarten students

• All current public school students

• Current private school students who are at or below 300% FPL.

Year 2 (2024-2025):

• All kindergarten students

• All current public school students

• Current private school students who are at or below 400% FPL.

Year 3 and beyond (2025-)

• All K-12 students in Iowa regardless of income.

Other student funding generated by the per pupil categorical funding formulas will remain with the respective public school district, even though a student has moved to a nonpublic school. This will be new funding that they have never been able to receive before. It is estimated that a public school district will retain about $1,205 per pupil in categorical funding for each student who attends a private school from their district.

(Info from the office of Governor Reynolds)

Let’s keep the conversation going. It matters and makes a difference, involving priorities and the spending of our tax dollars. No decision should come easy. All should be the product of hard work, vigorous discussion, and most importantly, your input. Thank you for the privilege you have afforded me to serve.