As a district and Board, we wanted to share some important information regarding bills that we are closely following. Sometimes it can be a challenge to follow bills as they work their way through the legislative process as bill numbers change at different stages.
At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Board Director Lori Lyon introduced this Resolution to encourage the Iowa legislature not to enact school vouchers or Educational Savings Accounts (ESA), SF 372. The bill will funnel taxpayer money to private schools, but it has been narrowed to only fund vouchers for students with an IEP (individualized education plan) or 504 disability plan. While this reduced scope will not affect all students, in other states, this has been a “foot in the door” for expanded legislation in the following years. If passed, the bill would take effect for the 2020-21 school year.
Along similar lines, HSB 213 (charter school bill) was introduced this week by Representative Dolecheck. The bill would allow for the expansion of charter school programs across the state.
HF 546/SF 74 would extend the ‘Secure an Advanced Vision for Education’ (SAVE) state penny sales tax for school infrastructure through January 1, 2051. SF 74 passed out of the Senate Education Committee and was referred to Ways and Means. HF 546 passed out of the Ways and Means Committee and is eligible for debate on the floor. The companion bill on the Senate side is still in Senate Ways & Means. We are in favor of this bill, as the continuance of the SAVE penny tax enables us to bond for new schools that will need to be built in our rapidly growing community.
Please reach out to your legislators and urge passage of SAVE. Also, let your legislators know the latest poll in Iowa showed overwhelmingly that Iowans are not in favor of legislation such as SF 372 and HSB 213. The second funnel date is April 5, which means legislators have three weeks to have bills voted out of one chamber and out of committee in the other chamber.
We encourage you to reach out to your legislators with any questions or comments.
ESA Sample Letter for Legislators
Waukee Community School District legislative representatives:
- Senator Charles Schneider, Iowa Senate District 22
- Senator Jake Chapman, Iowa Senate District 10
- Representative Kenan Judge, Iowa House District 44
- Representative Chris Hagenow, Iowa House District 19
Wendy Liskey, Board of Education President
Angie Morrison, Waukee Community School District CFO