Meeting Public Comments

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A bill for an act relating to educational offerings and funding by establishing a student first scholarship program for certain pupils attending nonpublic schools, establishing a student first scholarship fund, providing an income tax exemption, modifying and establishing charter school programs, modifying provisions governing the state’s open enrollment law including voluntary diversity plans, modifying the tuition and textbook tax credit, providing for the educator expense deduction, modifying provisions related to education data collection and permissible education programs and funding, making appropriations, providing penalties, and including effective date, applicability, and retroactive applicability provisions.(See SF 159.)
Subcommittee members: Sinclair-CH, Quirmbach, Zaun
Date: Monday, January 25, 2021
Time: 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Location: 217 Conference Room
Comments Submitted:
The purpose of comments is to provide information to members of the subcommittee.
Names and comments are public records. Remaining information is considered a confidential record.

01-21-2021
Lex Jacobson []
A strong public school system has been vital to Iowa's strength and historic standing of excellence. Weakening public schools by giving handouts to those who choose not to participate is not a responsible use of Iowan's tax dollars. Citizens should not expect a credit for private expenses just because they choose to forego public options.
01-21-2021
Wayne Kronemann []
There are 34 attendance centers in 19 school districts that are currently on the federal list in need of comprehensive improvement and support. There are 10,185 students enrolled in these public school buildings. The governors bill allocates $5,270 per student for a voucher to attend a nonpublic school. If every student took advantage of this opportunity, it would cost the state nearly $54 million! This is far above the governors budget of $3 million.Use public dollars for public schools. Period. The publics investment should be used to support public community schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status and disability, not for a new entitlement program for parents who choose private education.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board, are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same public standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used, but are left in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.
01-21-2021
Matt Alexander [OABCIG Schools]
Committee Members,As the Superintendent of a small rural public school district in Iowa I must express my disagreement with some provisions in SSB1065. I am strongly opposed to the use of public funds as a scholarship or voucher program for students to attend private schools. I cannot fathom why any elected official would prefer to divert funds away from our public schools, especially those that may be "underperforming". Part of the reason some schools are underperforming is due to lack of adequate funds to staff buildings appropriately causing higher student to teacher ratios causing less opportunity for individual or small group remediation. Taking funds away from these schools through a voucher program only increases the problem.I speak to this bill not only as an educator, but also as an Iowa taxpayer. I do not want to have my taxes go to funding private schools. I want my tax dollars used to improve our public education system. Restore it to the high level we held for so long. Stop gutting our system by consistently underfunding schools, and stop considering bills that would even further harm our schools by diverting those funds away from public schools.Respectfully submitted,Matt AlexanderOABCIG SuperintendentIowa Taxpayer
01-21-2021
Alicia Jacobi []
I am contacting the committee in regards to my concern with vouchers being allowed for private schools. It seems unfortunate to send public dollars to private organizations rather than keeping the public dollars within the public schools. Additionally, I fear families with better off means will start to send their children to these private schools leaving the less unfortunate students stuck at public schools and will receive less funding and resources if this voucher bill were to pass. As a community member and school board member, I seek advocacy for the protection of our public schools that receive such low funding already. In fact, instead of sending our public dollars to private organizations, it is crucial to in fact fund more than what is already being funded to our public schools. Its difficult for me to understand that my fellow community members tax dollars would be routed to a private entity rather than the public school that their own children attend. Please consider my thoughts and concerns and I thank you for your time in reading this. Alicia Jacobi
01-21-2021
Alicia Jacobi []
I am contacting the committee in regards to my concern with vouchers being allowed for private schools. It seems unfortunate to send public dollars to private organizations rather than keeping the public dollars within the public schools. Additionally, I fear families with better off means will start to send their children to these private schools leaving the less unfortunate students stuck at public schools and will receive less funding and resources if this voucher bill were to pass. As a community member and school board member, I seek advocacy for the protection of our public schools that receive such low funding already. In fact, instead of sending our public dollars to private organizations, it is crucial to in fact fund more than what is already being funded to our public schools. Its difficult for me to understand that my fellow community members tax dollars would be routed to a private entity rather than the public school that their own children attend. Please consider my thoughts and concerns and I thank you for your time in reading this. Alicia Jacobi
01-21-2021
Zebulun Treloar []
This bill is troubling to me because it is taking tax dollars away from public schools and giving them to private schools. The majority of private schools are in urban areas and there are many rural areas in the state that only have public schools and can only support one school option in the area due to their population. So this is taking money away from rural public schools and giving it to kids in more urban areas. I do not think taking from rural people to give to urban people is very Iowan and I do not support doing this.
01-21-2021
Erica McGowan []
Public dollars belong to PUBLIC schools. A public school is available for all residents. If they choose not to attend, then they need to fund their personal choice with their own dollars not taxpayers' dollars. Schools are underfunded as it is now. Directing additional dollars away from public schools will be devastating to our state especially to smaller school districts. Please end this bill NOW!
01-21-2021
Benjamin Johnson []
I am writing in opposition to this bill. It falsely claims "student choice" as a driver, but in reality shifts funding away from public schools. This bill addresses a nonissue, and instead we should be focused on using budget surpluses to fully fund and support a robust public school system in our state. This proposal, if it passes, will further erode public school quality and widen racial and economic gaps in the education system.
01-21-2021
Micki Henderson []
I am writing to express concern about this bill, this plan would continue to erode what once was an amazing school system. Iowa used to be the standard for public education but funding has continued to not keep up with costs and this plan would add more burden on public schools and take more funding away. It has proven that voucher systems hinder urban school districts, affecting minority students more. Public education should be about rising the tide to help ALL boats, not buying bigger boats for those some.
01-21-2021
Doug Stilwell []
I am opposed to SSB 1065. In addition to agreeing with the many comments that have come before mine, I am concerned by what seems a lack of accountability in this bill. Put another way, what is the intended outcome for this legislation? If it is for the purpose of improving student learning in the state of Iowa, what measurements will be used to determine if success has been achieved? I fear that the moneys being pulled from public schools will have little accountability if the legislation is enacted. Offering school choice does not necessarily equate with improved learning.
01-21-2021
Shelley Skuster []
As a taxpayer, I do NOT want my money going to fund private and/or religious schools. Public money is for public schools.Educational Savings Accounts (ESA) use taxpayer dollars to support schools that are exempt from oversight and are not required to accept all students like public schools are. I do NOT want my taxpayer money funding schools that can legally discriminate based on disability, gender identity, sexuality, religious preferences or economic status.ESA funds are not audited and have no safeguards against fraud or misuse.More than $52million of Iowa taxpayer money already funnels into nonpublic schools, private instruction and homeschooling. Why do they need MORE funding?ESAs hurt EVERY public school and EVERY public school student in our state.
01-21-2021
Lisa Earles []
Iowa should focus on funding underperforming schools rather than making it easier for families to move out. Enabling the flight of wealthier families leave the schools poorer, browner, more underfunded and deeper in a hole they can't escape. This perpetuates the cycle on inequality. Fund public schools so all Iowans can do better.
01-21-2021
Stephen Balong []
This will severely negatively impact rural schools as well as underprivileged schools. This legislation undercuts local control and is anathema to Republican ideals.
01-21-2021
Don Campbell []
Please DO NOT spend our tax dollars on private schools. We have a top notch public school system. If parents want to send their children to private schools, then they need to pay for it. NOT the tax payers of this great state. Whomever supports this bill or votes for it should be voted out of office. Apparently it is time to "clean house" at the state level as well.
01-21-2021
John Cook []
As a tax payer, I support Iowa's PUBLIC schools. I do not want my tax dollars diverted to private schools.
01-21-2021
Emily Buckley []
As a born and raised Iowan who has spent 10 years in Ohio, I have seen firsthand how vouchers and the diversion of funding to private and charter schools can decimate public schools. I oppose using public funds for private, charter, and religious schooling. I oppose using public funds for schools that arent held to the same accountability standards as public schools. I oppose the changes to open enrollment that hurt urban, suburban, and rural districts. This bill does not reflect our Iowa education values.
01-21-2021
Emily Henneman []
Members of the Senate Education committee: I strongly oppose this bill and urge you to oppose the bill before public schools become even more economically and racially segregated than they already are. If students who attend "a school identified for comprehensive support and improvement under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act" leave that school for a publicly funded charter school everyone will lose. The struggling school will only continue to struggle with less students and less funding. The charter school will become bombarded with applications which will lead to certain requirements such as high test scores for entry. This will further increase the economic gap that already exists in education. Students DO deserve a quality education and as a teacher in Iowa I promise that all of the teachers I know and work with want nothing more than to be able to give their students the best education they can provide no matter what school they work for. Please do not make our careers more difficult than they already are.
01-21-2021
Kellie McGrath-Frein []
Public dollars need to stay in public schools. There is conflicting evidence about whether or not charter schools impact learning in any meaningful way. Use our tax dollars to ensure our existing public schools are strong for ALL students in Iowa.
01-21-2021
Maggie Rietz []
I am opposed to SSB 1065. As a taxpayer, teacher, and parent of elementaryaged children who attend public school, public dollars belong to public schools. Period. This bill creates a voucher program that does not benefit every Iowa student; it allows money to go to nonpublic schools that are not required to accept all students, while public schools educate EVERY child. This bill does not benefit all students; it would spend approximately $50 million to only benefit 10,000 students. Public funds also need to require accountability and transparency and nonpublic schools and charter schools do not have to meet these same expectations. Our schools are already facing challenges due to the pandemic, and all available resources should support the more than 480,000 public school students in all 99 counties, equally, across the state. Instead, stop underfunding our public schools; significantly increasing education funding for public schools would benefit so many more students. Further, ending the diversity plan and changing open enrollment especially hurts our urban school districts who are already experiencing decreased enrollment and ultimately sets up segregated school districts.
01-21-2021
Danielle Roecker []
Our schools are in desperate need of funds and every penny of my tax dollars are meant to support our public schools. ESAs only help families that already have the means to make private school choices, while our public funds are needed to provide an educational foundation that will supports our community in many ways. Please do not approve this ESA bill.
01-21-2021
Joel Schutte []
I am a retired school administrator. I am not in favor of vouchers. Vouchers are portrayed as the great equalizer for students of color and students living in poverty, but the data is inconclusive at best. Voucher systems often have the opposite effect they provide even more opportunities for students who already have advantages. Put more money in public schools. Pay teachers better. Develop comprehensive programs for needy students. Develop programs and schools that focus on trade skills. That's the key to improving our schools.
01-21-2021
Jamie Logan []
As a public school teacher, I know first hand how desperately our schools are in need of funds. As a parent who has chosen to send our children to private school, I also oppose the use of public funds for private schools. Our government's first responsibility is to our public schools.
01-21-2021
Rita Pray []
Vouchers are wrong for Iowa. We need to know what our taxpayer money is paying for. We should not be subsidizing more segregation and white flight in the schools. It is the state's responsibility to make sure it is providing a free and appropriate public education, and by allowing people to opt out and hide their children in unaccredited schools or home situations without oversight and at taxpayer's expense is egregiously in error.
01-21-2021
Vicki Sehgal []
I oppose SSB 1065 and urge all subcommittee members to do the same. Our public tax dollars are for public education. If you want to make education a priority we should look at states that are #15 in the nation, not the bottom third. The children of our state are counting on us!
01-21-2021
Mark Palmberg []
Using taxpayer dollars to fund private/religious education is wrong. It is unfair. Our focus should be on improving our *public* education system with public dollars.
01-21-2021
Mike Augspurger []
Hello Members of Senate Education Committee:Please do not pass SSB 1065 as it currently stands. When I was a teenager (in Ohio), I knew that Iowa had some of the best public schools in the country: it was part of what Iowa meant to those out of the state. Since then, we've gradually but steeply lowered our investment in public education. By most metrics, our public schools are now at best middleofthepack, and by many metrics below average nationally. This has been a slowmotion tragedy for our state over the last 30 years.We need to reinvest in public schools. But this bill does the opposite. In effect, it will take public school money and send it to private schools and charter schools. It opens up transfers in a way that will remove middleclass and wealthy students from poorer school districts, further isolating and impoverishing these poorer districts. It will further erode our state and our citizens' commitment to a public school system that provides a quality education to ALL students. Please reject this path forward. Recommit to a great public school system in Iowa, and stop trying to "solve" public education problems by encouraging Iowans to abandon their commitment to local public schools. We all need good public schools: not just for our own kids, but for our communities and for our state.Mike AugspurgerDavenport
01-22-2021
S Deyoe []
I support public money going to public schools. We should be doing more to support public schools, not creating a way for private schools to benefit from public money.
01-22-2021
Carolyn Stucker []
I simply ask that you provide the same support for strong public schools that my parents and grandparents provided to me. Today's children deserve no lessno matter where they live in our state. Do not remove resources that our schools need.
01-22-2021
Allison Uhll []
Public schools are one of the things that encouraged us to move to Iowa. We should not be gutting public schools to fund charter schools. Invest in our public school systems properly, and there is no need for these charter programs that further segregate and divide our kids. I am against this bill as evidence shows the top performing education systems do NOT follow this system. Lets follow evidence to do whats best for our children.
01-22-2021
Liz Moldovan []
Please vote no on vouchers. Support public school systems and give the funding they need to provide high quality education. Our tax money should be going to schools that answer to the public and every student should have the opportunity to have a quality educational experience.
01-22-2021
Stella Herzig []
Aspects of this bill will allow the use of taxpayer dollars to fund vouchers for private education (which is not required to serve students with disabilities), specifically targeting vouchers to those public schools that are underperforming. I OPPOSE those aspects. Rather than using our taxes to fund those public schools to boost ALL the students they serve (and therefore our communities) these vouchers would allow a small number of parents to opt out (you dont have enough funding in the state to support everyone), thus leaving those public schools with even fewer students (and therefore fewer education dollars), which becomes a vicious cycle. Of course, most of the children left in public schools will be those with disabilities, IEPs or children of color. This will have a particularly awful impact on urban Title I schools and smaller rural districts, leading to closings!Further, aspects of this bill will require the end of voluntary diversity plans which help prevent white flight (I call it like I see it) from districts with diverse populations. This is horribly sad and, frankly, the very example of systemic racism.In addition, it allows for the establishment of charter schools that are not held to the same standards of admission or education as our current public schools. FURTHER, the district in which the charter exists must pay education dollars to the charter. One need only to look to Chicago or New Orleans to see the devastation that rampant charter schools wreaks on communities.I strongly oppose the private school vouchers and I strongly oppose having districts pay private schools. You should be building up our public school system to the highest levels. We moved here in 1990 because of the excellent public school system; that same system degraded over the years. You are very unpatriotic to decimate our public school system thus with taxpayer money filling private companies who discriminate. Please be on the right side of social justice. Please support our PUBLIC schools and stop this drain to private inequitable companies.
01-22-2021
Kelsey Hampton []
A strong, highquality public school system is one of the areas places where Iowa outshines most other states. Our educational system is crucial to Iowa's economic future, retention of young, educated talent, and population. Iowa has no mountains, no beaches, no large metropolitan areas to attract talented citizens. What Iowa has to attract young residents is a nationally recognized public education system and the promise of being a good home to raise a family. Defunding public schools to funnel taxpayer dollars towards private schools in the form of vouchers will dismantle one of the strongest arguments to raise a family in Iowa. I encourage the committee to vote "no" on SSB 1065 and to work with Iowa school districts to identify the best legislative measures to bolster the performance and future of our public schools.
01-22-2021
LISA COLLINS []
Vouchers are a bad move for Iowa. As someone who went through the Iowa pubic school system and has four kids in school now, the same schools I went to as a child, I encourage you to make our public schools better and not give vouchers a second thought. Vouchers send the wrong message about our public school system and I say VOTE NO TO VOUCHERS IN IOWA!!!
01-22-2021
Krysten Reid []
This is a ridiculous bill public funds should be for public schools. You dont get to undefined our schools for over a decade and then pay to send students elsewhere. I do not support this.
01-22-2021
Jill Majeres []
I am not OK with tax payer money going to fund private education. We have a public education system that is available to all. If families choose to have private education that is a choice that should not be paid for with tax payer money. Why would the state support two systems? That is not being good stewards of money. We need to focus on the public education system.
01-22-2021
Patricia A Hopes []
Keep Iowa dollars for public schools, not private schools.
01-22-2021
Angela Huseman [Tri-Center CSD]
I will never support giving more Public tax dollars to support Private schools and Homeschooling. Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is require of all public schools. We take everyone. We take the Homeschool student that shows up as a Sophomore with a 2nd grade reading and math skill level. We take that student that has been "uninvited" from their Private School because she could not conform to their rules. We take that medically fragile student and provide the personnel and curriculum to get so he can be educated. Public education has transparency and specific requirements. Private Schools and Home Schools do not. Why would public dollars support a private business? Private schools and HomeSchooling is a family choicea choice that families can continue to have, without more public money being funneled in their direction. As of 2019, $65.6 million public schools dollars are already being funneled to Private Schools, despite decreasing private school enrollment. Iowa is already #1 in HS graduation and amount of college credit courses offered. Keep the money where it has proven to be effective!!!
01-22-2021
Cindy Garlock [Cedar Rapids Community School District Board of Directors]
The Cedar Rapids Community School District Board of Directors would like to urge you to defeat Senate Study Bill (SSB) 1065. This omnibus education bill includes provisions that would be detrimental to Iowas public schools.Establishing a voucher program, even in this limited capacity, will lead to decreased funding for our public schools. It is our position that public tax dollars should be used to fund public schools. And ONLY public schools. Unlike private schools, public schools provide a free education to ALL students, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Unlike private schools, public schools must follow all guidelines established by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Individual with Disabilities Education Act. Unlike private schools, public schools must provide accountability and transparency to their community and to the State of Iowa. Private schools are not universally accessible by Iowa families. This legislation would benefit a few, at the expense of the many.Rather than diverting tax dollars to private entities, it is imperative to provide our public school with the resources they need. Public school funding has not kept up with costs in recent years. Our public schools need additional funding, not fewer resources. This legislation does not address the needs of the majority of Iowa families. The establishment of charter schools also serves to reallocate resources away from serving ALL students to serving the few. Again, charter schools have little accountability to the public. While public tax dollars provide their funding, there is not necessarily oversight by the local, publicly elected Board of Directors in that school district. This gives control of tax dollars to a few people, who may not be representative of the local school district. SSB 1065 does not serve the families of Iowa and we encourage you to vote no on this legislation.Sincerely,Nancy Humbles, PresidentDavid Tominsky, Vice PresidentGary Anhalt, DirectorJennifer Borcherding, DirectorCindy Garlock, DirectorDexter Merschbrock, DirectorJennifer Neumann, Director
01-22-2021
Claudia Brown []
I oppose using Iowans Taxes to fund private schools. This bill is proposing taking money from underfunded public schools and giving it to for profit private schools.
01-22-2021
Trudy Neff []
Taxpayer money should not go to private schools. Private schools are not required to accept all students. The voucher system will not strengthen public schools, but weaken them. If you want to attract and retain people in our state you need to have a strong public schools. Funding public schools is necessary. The funding for Iowa public schools has been less than 3% increase for years. This is inadequate and does not help the children and citizens of the state of Iowa.
01-22-2021
Gerene Denning []
Iowa's public schools were once the envy of the nation, ranking first for a long time and then second to Minnesota. But for at least two decades Iowa's Republican governance has slowly whittled away it's support for our schools and our ranking continues to slide. This bill is yet another attempt to reduce taxpayer support for our public schools and will further contribute to our downward trajectory. Every child has the right to the best possible education and that goal is only achieved through a high quality public school system.
01-22-2021
Katie McNichols []
I oppose vouchers and school choice. We should be working to improve our public schools, not to destroy them. The states with school vouchers and charter schools rank way behind Iowa. We are doing a wonderful job in Iowa, and we should continue to fund our public schools and improve them.
01-22-2021
Alan MacVey [University of Iowa]
I am strongly opposed to this bill. I attended a religious school for 11 of my 13 K12 years. While it was good, much of its curriculum focused on religious beliefs and traditions; even subjects such as English and social studies were taught from a religious point of view. This is perfectly fine but Iowa taxpayers should not be supporting such schools. The founders made it very clear that there is a separation between church and state and they were right. We need to reinforce it, not dilute it. And we all know that the public school system needs every dollar to serve the children of our state.
01-22-2021
Joe Erickson [North Iowa CSD]
Committee members,As a leader in a public school district, I am strongly opposed to SSB 1065. In addition to creating precedentfor public funds to be used by entities that have no requirement for transparency of use of the funds, I am drastically concerned about the inevitable inequity this will create for students in Iowa's educational systems. While there is the appearance of school choice by parents, there would continue to be barriers to some families. Would nonpublic schools provide transportation to all students? If not, this is a barrier. Would nonpublic schools accept all students without consideration of income level of family, special education, or primary language spoken in homes? If not, this is a barrier. I have personally experienced a nonpublic school making a choice to no longer serve a student in special education in which the student was then enrolled in the resident district. Unless nonpublic schools are required to accept students without bias, this is not a schoolchoice for all. School choice currently exists for families through open enrollment options. Improvement of Iowa's educational system will not take place by siphoning funds from public education to serve some students, but not all.
01-22-2021
Dan Peterson []
Please see the attached letter. Thank you for your consideration and for your service to our state.
Attachment
01-22-2021
Jannelle McGee []
I am strongly against any preferential treatment for private school students in the form of scholarships or tax exemptions. These funds should be used to support ALL of Iowas children and students. That is what I expect of my tax dollars. If you choose a private education for your children its a choice you make but you still benefit from the public education so you should not get to have the benefit of a tax shelter.
01-22-2021
Karl Kurt []
As a former student of a catholic grade school, high school and college I can confidently say that tax payer funds should support public education. My parents choose to allocate money to send their 10 children through the Catholic system, and that was their choice. It should continue to be a choice, but money should not be diverted to incentive or support the decision to attend a nonpublic school.
01-22-2021
Sarah Updegraff []
Invest in Iowas public schools, which educate 94% of Iowa students. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings.More than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings according to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis.Vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.
01-22-2021
Naomi McCormick [Cedar Valley Interfaith Council and Women of Faith]
School voucher schemes are fundamentally positioned to funnel taxpayers dollars into private schools while draining muchneeded resources from public schools and the vulnerable students, often students of color, who attend them. Policymakers must consider the origins of vouchers and their impact on segregation and support for public education. No matter how well intentioned, widespread voucher programs risk exacerbating segregation in schools and leaving the most vulnerable students and the public schools they attend behind. As an Iowan who lives in the metropolitan Waterloo/ Cedar Falls community, I am well aware of how people of color and Black citizens in particular face institutional racism by attending predominately segregated, poorly funded public schools. Instead of solving this problem, school vouchers would do the oppositeadding to institutional racism by damaging our public education system. It is deceptive to frame vouchers as school choice, and then say Iowans should have the right to send their children to schools that are not failing. If Iowa schools are struggling, its because of years of underfunding by the State Legislature. By supporting policies which set up our public schools to fail, state and local government contributes to racial injustice. In addition, school vouchers often benefit private religious schools. A hallmark of our democracy is the separation of church and state. Citizens have the right to send their children to parochial schools, but not by robbing tax payer dollars from those who prefer secular public education or for whom private education would be unaffordable even with vouchers. Iowa and the US is falling behind other countries because we fail to support high quality public education. As a retired college professor and licensed clinical psychologist, I strongly oppose this bill.
01-22-2021
Mark Glowacki []
I dont want any money diverted from my local school district to any private school. If the state wants money for private schools it can pay them directly.
01-22-2021
Jeremy Branson []
My tax dollars are for public use, for the greater good of our communities and to promote growth in the state of Iowa. I strongly oppose the use of our tax dollars for private schools! If our public schools do not live up to some peoples standards in this state then more tax money should be raised to promote the quality of public education. Private education is just that private its for the few that have the money to support a school that lives by separate standards not controlled of set forth by the state. If public schools standards or policies are not in line with your personal beliefs than so be it, come up with the money and fund your own school. Public funds are collected to be used by the public as a whole regardless of religion, sex, sexual orientation, race or class.
01-22-2021
Jil Nelson [EBF School District]
As a public school administrator in rural Iowa, I am opposed to this legislation and quite frankly hurt. Would those of you making decisions, please visit your local school districts? Will you come speak to administrators, teachers and staff? Can you come see first hand how this would negatively impact the 94% of students statewide who receive public education. If not, would you please make sure you have a plan to replace public education as a whole? If you don't think this through and make an alternative plan our state will continue to lose the ground we once held as the "best of the best" in education. Please, please do your due diligence!Thank you for reading and considering,Jil NelsonElementary PrincipalEBF School District
01-22-2021
Aaron Burdorf [Shenandoah CSD]
As someone who grew up in a rural part of northern Iowa and now an administrator in the far SW corner of Iowa, the idea of opening of enrollment to "choice" schools is not a solution to our education problems in Iowa. Being unaccountable to funding and pushing money into private schools (which that choice does not exist for most Iowans) will not help Iowa education. The thought of further dividing the rich from the poor will only make the brain drain of Iowa worse. Please reconsider and get some educators involved in your decision making. Thank you for your time.
01-22-2021
Erin Miller []
Invest in Iowas public schools, which educate 94% of Iowa students. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings.More than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings according to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis.Vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.
01-22-2021
Gary DeLacy []
Dear Legislators,I have major concerns about SSB 1065. It appears to me that it will create more inequity with use of public funds in the state. It has explicit language in this bill that nonpublic school accepting public money through vouchers DO NOT need to follow the same state requirements as public schools. That would include serving any child that comes to a school's door. Nonpublic school can pick and choose who they serve. Nonpublic schools do not have the same level of transparency to the public. The lack of oversite by the Department of Education in appropriate use of public funds advocated in this bill through vouchers creates an uneven playing field and a lack of accountability. My second concern is Iowa already provides choice through open enrollment. Competition is good for public schools and open enrollment provides that incentive. It is fair because all public schools have the same requirements. I encourage all legislators to oppose this legislation.
01-22-2021
Jason Lampe []
I wanted to take a quick moment to reach out to both of my representatives and voice my opposition to SSB 1065 (School Vouchers). The idea that our valuable tax dollars can/could be allocated to institutions that do not have to adhere to the same level of transparency and accountability as public schools, or even worse yet, can discriminate against students they feel they don't want to serve is utterly abhorrent. This bill will not only exacerbate the achievement gap between the "have's" and "have nots," but could potentially set our public schools into a hole that would be incredibly difficult to get out of. As a proud parent of two children enrolled in public schools, I would be incredibly disappointed in this subcommittee for giving this bill any serious consideration at all. I understand the governor's push for privatized education, but not like this. This is not what is best for ANY kids let alone all kids. I hope and pray that you will do the right thing and vote this bill down.
01-22-2021
Sam Miller [Central Rivers AEA]
Public dollars need to go to public education which educate 94% of Iowa students. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.More than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings according to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis.Vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.
01-22-2021
Dorothy Whiston []
We chose to send our kids to a private school through 8th grade so I know the wonderful education private schools can offer. And we were glad to pay for it and we continue to support the financial aid program at the school so children with economic need can attend and reap the benefits our kids did. However, I oppose using state funding for private schools. As a society we need to enhance the educational opportunities for as many students as possible, rather than for the select few. Good public education is both a right and responsibility for all Americans. It is fundamental to a wellfunctioning democracy as well as to the individual success and happiness of our fellow citizens. To be fair to all people, neither direct funding, scholarships, nor tax exemptions for or related to private education should be siphoned off from the limited public dollars available to meet the evergrowing needs for funding public education. Please reserve our public dollars for public education for the benefit of all, especially those in most need!
01-22-2021
Michael Rundall []
I am writing with great concerns for this proposed piece of legislation. As a public school administrator in a rural area, this feels like an assault on the values of public education. Public education is in place for the greater good of society. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. We work to serve all. Private schools often hand pick and select who they serve, leaving this to proposed piece of legislation open to essentially being discriminatory.Public schools are held accountable. Private schools are not held to the same standards in many regards as public schools. Without this accountability, tax dollars may be going towards questionable curriculum, practices, standards, and a differing degree of accountability.As I mentioned previously, this appears to be an attack on public education and educators, likely in retaliation for the pandemic. Not all districts chose to not follow the requirements set in place for in person instruction. This really feels as though the legislation is intended to punish rural tax paying Iowans with already great public schools (often times the only schools they have) for the perceived rebuke by urban districts during the Covid19 pandemic.
01-22-2021
Pamela Mohr []
Vouchers are wrong for Iowa: 1) Rules and transparency must follow taxpayer money. 2) Iowa students already outperform the states with vouchers. 3) Vouchers pull valuable resources out of rural schools. 4) Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund schools that can discriminate based on disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status and religious preference.
01-22-2021
Keri Zimmer []
I cannot support the diversion of public tax dollars to support private/homeschool education. Private schools are not held to the same standards or access requirements as public schools. Our public schools educate everyone, those seen and those who are not as easily seen by our lawmakers. Iowa's public schools educate all students who are ready to be citizens and provide highquality opportunities for ALL. Please reconsider your work.
01-22-2021
Fred Ovrom []
We can help schools that are "failing" but providing adequate financial support and allowing teachers and trained school administrators to make the important decisions about how to improve their schools, not by diverting precious funds away from those schools. Our public education system needs more funding, not less. There is no more important societal investment.
01-22-2021
Greg Ray [Mediapolis Community School]
Invest in Iowas public schools, which educate 94% of Iowa students. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings.More than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings according to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis (Document Attached).Vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.
Attachment
01-22-2021
Kristin Johnson []
Dear Distinguished Senators,I am writing to express my opposition to SF 1065, and my utter dismay at the extreme overreach and terribly negative message this bill sends to not only Iowans, but also anyone who would ever consider relocating their families to Iowa.I grew up and received my education in Iowa, when the state, predominantly with public school options available, consistently ranked at the top of the US in educational opportunities. We had numerous options open to us in terms of what state we would like to live in to raise our children and provide for their education. We researched the schools in all of the areas we considered. In nearly every other state, there was a huge disparity in student success between that state and Iowa, and in most of the other states, real estate agents tried to sell us on homes in areas based on location of the nonpublic schools, which of course were much higherpriced properties. The student success rates varied widely between the private schools and the public schools. In each of these other states, public school budgets were starved at the expense of public students and on behalf of the private schools. This bill does not reflect Iowa values. The opportunity to attend nonpublic schools is not available to many urban and rural families. Iowans do not choose to benefit the privileged at the expense of the alreadydisadvantaged. I urge you not to approve SF 1065.
01-22-2021
Melissa Kiliper-Ernst []
Our public schools need your support. Using public school money to support private institutions is an irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars. Support public schools and innovative practices to make Iowa #1 in education. Its good for kids, and its good for the Iowa economy.
01-22-2021
Jane Suiter []
As a retired public school teacher, mother of a public school teacher, and grandmother to public school students, I AM OPPOSED TO THIS BILL. As a parent I CHOSE to send my children to a private school not because a public school option wasn't available but because they had started in the parochial system. As I said I CHOSE to send them there and DID NOT expect any tax aid for my decision.My son has chosen to go into education and is teaching in a public school. My grandchildren attend a public school also. We in Iowa have been fortunate to have a strong public school system and have stemmed off the need for private schools. I hope we can continue this in Iowa.If we give public funding to parents for private education we will be gutting this strong education system. Right now there isn't enough financial support for public schools and this bill will erode what public education financial support there is now. If anything the pandemic has shown us is that there ISN'T ENOUGH FUNDING FOR IOWA SCHOOLS RIGHT NOW. Schools are being taxed financially by having to provide electronic support to their students during the pandemic. With the public and government push for students to attend in person there needs to be more state financial support for the public schools and NOT introducing a voucher system bill to support private schools.Do the parents realize that this voucher will not cover all of the tuition to the private school and they will be on the hook for the rest of the tuition?PLEASE DO NOT SUPPORT THIS BILL FOR THE SAKE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION IN IOWA.
01-22-2021
Tiffany Elwood []
As a taxpayer with children in public schools, I oppose SSB 1065. I do not want tax dollars to support private schools. Taxes need to be used for PUBLIC schools. Please stop waging war on public schools in Iowa.
01-22-2021
Bill Walters []
This idea has been kicked around for many years. It's a bad idea and a slap in the face to public schools in the state of Iowa. Open enrollment provides choice for families and at least keeps public funds in public schools. Giving vouchers to families with student already in private schools is another tax break that isn't necessary. The state of Iowa lready pays out over $70,000,000 to private schools with public tax dollars. Private education is a choice not a right to families. Our public schools have never done a better job educating ALL students. Private schools will still be allowed to pick and choose the students they want and don't want. I see absolutely no reason other than greed for something like this to go through. Unless a child is gifted or has incredible athletic ability private schools have no interest in taking kids into their schools. This legislation would continue the unevening of the playing field from the majority of students.
01-22-2021
Eryn Cronbaugh []
I urge you to defeat Senate Study Bill (SSB) 1065. This bill includes provisions that would be detrimental to Iowa's public schools. Establishing a voucher program, even in this limited capacity, will lead to decreased funding for our public schools. Public tax dollars should be used to fund public schools. And ONLY public schools. Rather than diverting tax dollars to private entities, it is imperative to provide our public school with the resources they need. Public school funding has not kept up with costs in recent years. Our public schools need additional funding, not fewer resources. This legislation does not address the needs of the majority of Iowa families. The establishment of charter schools also serves to reallocate resources away from serving ALL students to serving the few. Charter schools have little accountability to the public. While public tax dollars provide their funding, there is not necessarily oversight by the local, publicly elected Board of Directors in that school district. This gives control of tax dollars to a few people, who may not be representative of the local school district. SSB 1065 does not serve the families of Iowa and we encourage you to vote no on this legislation.
01-22-2021
Meghan Schaeffer []
I am ABSOLUTELY opposed to this bill. Iowa has a strong history of excellent public education, which needs fortification after this pandemic. It is TRAGIC schools were provided NO support during the pandemic from any government agency. Decisions were not based in science. Strong research is completely absent on this issue, and this is unnecessary in Iowa.
01-22-2021
Debra Cale [DALLAS CENTER ELEMENTARY]
Dear Committee MembersI am hopeful that you are listening the voices of educators and not just the voices of those who do have the experience of what public schools specifically do to invest in our youth. Our public schools educate 94% of Iowa students and they do not discriminate on test scores, race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. Public dollars need to and should go to public education. Legislation SSB 1065 would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity. And isn't that what we want in our great state of Iowa equity for ALL? We must carefully consider what this would do to our students of poverty and color. This legislation would only widen the divide in equity, inclusion, and access that is already present. Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings.More than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings according to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis.Vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.Please carefully consider what is BEST for ALL students and not what is best for you politically.Thank you Debra CaleElementary School Principal and mother of two daughters educated in Iowa public schools
01-22-2021
Vicki Siefers []
I am strongly opposed to this bill. Issuing vouchers for private schools and taking away from the public schools is the wrong direction for Iowa. We have some of the best public schools in the country and we should be supporting them more instead of taking away support. Both of my children were educated in the public school and received excellent educations which enabled them to further their education and careers. Please throw this bill in the trash and don't bring it back.
01-22-2021
Cheryl Lindo [Private citizen-]
Please do not support SSB 1065.Public schools need better funding to meet the demands of 21st century. Most students in Iowa are served by public schools. Private schools are not even an option for students living in rural areas and diverting funds to the few is not beneficial to the students sf Iowa.Private schools are allowed to discriminate and I am not comfortable supporting that with public money.
01-22-2021
Jennifer Anderson []
Please do not destroy public education. Public dollars need to go to public education.
01-22-2021
Justin Colbert [Iowa City Community School District]
Hello,I wanted to share my objections for SSB 1065. Public funding for Iowa public school's has been on a steady decline in our state for a number of years now. SSB 1065 would siphon away additional dollars from Iowa's public schools and shift them towards private schools. This is not right as public dollars should be allocated for public schools. Public funds require accountability and transparency and you have to acknowledge that nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools.While Iowa's schools are not perfect, I would be willing to put my school and District up against any nonpublic school in the state of Iowa in terms of the quality of education we provide. However, if money is moved away from public schools, it would slowly began to erode the opportunity that our students have in our public schools along with the other 94% of school age children in the state.Thank you,Justin ColbertPrincipal, Iowa City Liberty HSIowa City Community School District
01-22-2021
Jaclyn Kurtz []
I strongly oppose SSB 1065. Americans and Iowans need public schools. Iowa has been lucky to have an excellent public school system for many years, something we as Iowans pride ourselves on, and what Iowa needs right now is to focus on making our public schools even better. There are too many schools in desperate need of building improvements, lacking the space or materials or staff for students with special needs, lacking safe transportation options for children in impoverished areas. Public funds should go to public schools. Sending your child to a private school is a choice that not everyone has the privilege of making. Bottom line, we need to be investing in the future of Iowa's children and education by investing in our public school system.
01-22-2021
Jessi Freers []
Hello,I strongly urge you to invest in Iowa's public schools, which educate 94% of Iowa students. Public dollars need to go to public education! As an 18year educator in Iowa who also went through Iowa's public education system K12, I have firsthand experience with public education's ability and requirement to educate ALL students without discrimination, based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity. I strongly advocate that public funds should require accountability and transparency. Thank you for your time and for doing what is best for ALL of Iowa's children.
01-22-2021
Erica Jennings []
I strongly oppose SSB 1065. This legislature is an assault on public education. Public educators have been working tirelessly to provide students with an education during a pandemic, and stripping funds away from schools to help a small percentage of children is inequitable and a gross misuse of public funds. I teach in West Liberty, where we have policies to prevent "white flight," and this bill will negate, leading to fewer resources for our children who need it most. Unregulated, private schools have no place for public funding. Thank you for your time.
01-22-2021
Angela Miller []
Public schools serve all children of the public. Private schools serve who they choose. Public money should be invested in institutions committed to serving all children.
01-22-2021
Daniel Butler [Epworth Elementary School: Western Dubuque Community School District]
As a public school administrator in the Western Dubuque School District, I believe our state must continue to invest in Iowas public schools, which educate 94% of Iowa students. Simply stated, public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. We serve all students and are open to anyone who walks through our doors to be educated. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity. This would be a fiscally irresponsible decision with public dollars in the opinion of this educator.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings. If public dollars are going to be spent funding programs similar to what this bill suggests, there must be a high level of accountability and transparency, such as the standard to which public schools are held.According to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis, more than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings.Vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools, such as those in Western Dubuque depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.Please feel free to contact me if you happen to have any questions or concerns about my comments.Yours in education,Dr. Daniel ButlerEpworth Elementary PrincipalWestern Dubuque Community Schools
01-22-2021
Laurie Bark []
I am against Bill SSB 1065 and asking our legislators to refuse further action in favor of it. Iowa's public school system is vital to the success of everything and everyone in the state of Iowa. An increase in the support of our public schools which serve all students regardless of race, gender, religion, socioeconomic status or disability is the only way to restore Iowa to its former standing as the country's leader in education. This bill would further destroy Iowa and must be stopped now!
01-22-2021
Casey Hansen []
Public funds belong to public schools. This bill will funnel money away from publics schools that are already underfunded (but staffed by hardworking educators, I might add). Please vote NO and end this bill before Iowa joins other states who have attempted this system and failed.
01-22-2021
Justin Cook []
The hypocrisy in this bill calling for state funding to go to private enterprises while continuing to cut or not properly fund state funded education at all levels brought a new level of disappointment for me. While there are parts of the bill that are improvements upon what we currently have (primarily educator expense deduction) overall it is huge step in the wrong direction and slap in the face to every educator in the state.
01-22-2021
Patricia Lansink [Diocese of Sioux City]
While school choice proponents appreciate the governor's proposal as a starting point, this bill still falls short of giving parents a true choice in the education that is best for their child. Students First is a misnomer if we are going to limit this only to students in struggling schools. If they are truly first, then all families should have a choice as there are struggling students everywhere, not just in struggling schools. It should also be noted that this is not a voucher program, where state dollars are given to private schools. This is an education savings account, with dollars going to parents to choose the education that is best for their child. States where this program has been implemented have not seen a mass exodus of public school students as some are establishing as a reason to oppose this program. Most families will still choose public education if that is what they feel is best for their student. What's important is that families actually have a choice, not just the one determined by their zip code. Furthermore, current private school parents still pay taxes to support their public schools, while receiving none of the benefits of that public education and also paying tuition to attend a private school. Let us also not forget, school choice saves our state millions of dollars every year in per pupil costs for the students who attend private schools.
01-22-2021
Dennis Miller []
I support creating the first scholarship program for certain pupils attending non public schools and all that this bills entails. I understand and support the need for strong public schools but I believe tax dollars were meant to educate students not support a school system. Nonpublic schools have to abide by certain government regulations in order to be accredited and the students who choose to attend them should be able to apply at least some of the tax money their families contribute to pay for that education. The State of Iowa has a vested interest in good nonpublic schools educating informed citizens in partnership with public schools and giving some tax money to them will not only ensure that they have the funds to stay open but will ensure that they receive a good education and be responsible, contributing citizens into the future.
01-22-2021
Shannon Bisgard [Linn-Mar]
I would like to voice my opinion as being opposed to SSB 1065. I completely disagree with the concept of public tax dollars being spent on private schools for the following reasons:The state should be investing in Iowas public schools, which educate 94% of Iowa students. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings.More than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings according to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis.Families already have school choice options available to them. They can attend private schools if they choose, they can open enroll in a different school, and they can participate in home school programs. This isnt about choice. It is about the use of public money!Thank you,Shannon Bisgard
01-22-2021
Ryan Berg []
Families deserve a choice in the education of their children. No school is a perfect fit for everyone, so having options is crucial when trying to make sure all children's needs are met. Private schools have had a long history of being advocates for minorities and others from low economic backgrounds. The smaller size of many private schools allows for more individualized attention, and the students who need that attention the most are often the ones whose families cannot afford to pay tuition. The COVID19 pandemic has caused large numbers of private schools across the nation to shut down. Passing this bill would help prevent further closure of private schools in Iowa. The bottom line is that we need to do what is best for children!
01-22-2021
Eric Trager [Audubon and Coon Rapid - Bayard School Superintendent]
I urge you to reject SSB 1065. This bill would clearly divert state funds from public schools to private schools and individuals without the accountability required of public schools. More importantly ensuring a very high quality public education is a role of state government. Diverting funds to privates and individuals because of some perceived shortfall in public education is shirking that responsibility. If there is something broken with public education (and I don't think there is), it is the duty of state government to create policy to fix it, not defund it. I am a public school administrator and a republican tax payer. I expect my legislators to focus on their role and not add to state government. I also expect those receiving state dollars be held accountable like has been rightfully expected of public education.Thank you for your consideration.
01-22-2021
Stephanie Mohorne [Waterloo Schools]
I am writing to express my opposition for SSB 1065. As a public school educator for over 20 years, in on way do I support using any amount of public dollars to support public schools. Doing so would add to the sorting and selecting that many private schools are able to do, which is not good for students.
01-22-2021
Scott Driskell []
Good afternoon,I wanted to take just a moment to speak out against SSB 1065. I am in my 25th year of public education and each year I find it increasingly difficult. It seems that public education is increasingly under attack each year.This bill speaks directly to that. 94% of the state's students are in public education, which in turn means the tax dollars should be directed to public schools. Public schools also work with every student, not just a select few. We work tirelessly to meet the needs of atrisk, special education, or our low ses students. Private schools do not have to allow these students into their system.There is also the issue of transparency. Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings. This public awareness is an important part of the checks and balances needed to use public money.In the end, I respectfully ask that you reconsider this bill. I believe it will do far more damage to our students and our schools, than it will to increase any test scores or student achievement.Thank you,Scott Driskell
01-22-2021
Marcel Kielkucki []
Members of the Senate Subcommittee,I write to you in support of SSB1065. The "Students First" scholarships are a good start toward providing additional educational options and opportunities for students in Iowa. While a limited number of students would qualify under this program, it is a way to begin to expand opportunities for students and families. I would encourage you to also look at ways to include additional students by expanding the eligibility criteria so more students would qualify across Iowa.I also support the expansion of the tuition and textbook credit. This is a program that provides benefits to all Iowans, not just those who choose to send students to a nonpublic school. As costs have risen for tuition, textbooks, and other qualified expenses, this tax credit has not been adjusted to match those costs. Increasing the credit as proposed would provide additional benefits for all families.I also support the provision to allow educators to deduct up to $500 in qualified expenses. There a are teachers in both public and nonpublic schools that spend money out of their own pockets for classroom materials and supplies as a way to enhance and supplement their classrooms. With all we ask of educators, especially in the last 12 months, this would be a way to show our appreciation for the continued efforts they make on behalf of our students. Thank you for the opportunity to share my views on SSB1065. It is my hope that Iowa can continue to find ways to expand educational opportunities for all students.
01-22-2021
Lorie Nussbaum []
Dear Subcommittee members, In considering SSB1065 and, as Iowa has and continues to be known for its high quality of education for its children, I urge the support of all children of the state, no matter which school parents choose for their children. To assure wellinformed, welleducated citizens, all Iowa students deserve the benefit of funds so that Iowa may continue to provide the best of the best in education. Iowa's teachers, like those around the nation, have been faced with challenges beyond anyone's imagination. They have stepped up and beyond in continuing to support students and families through new educational formats during this pandemic. Providing deductions for educators to cover some of the many expenses they take on each year (even more so this year) is a positive way to encourage their efforts. With teacher shortages, this type of gesture illustrates the state's appreciation for those who prepare the next generation of leaders. Thank you for your consideration.
01-22-2021
Brady Bisgard []
I am so against this voucher program that is sure to destroy our public schools. How would taking money away from public schools help solve their problems?My tax dollars should NEVER go to a private Christian school. That is not what tax dollars are for.
01-22-2021
Keri Schlueter []
I am against SSB 1065 specific to two areas.The student first scholarship: Public dollars should fund public schools. We do not give funds directly to families in other areas to spend as they please if they want something different than what is publicly provided. Nonpublics are not held to the same standards, nor to they provide equitable opportunities for all students. The purpose of the public providing education to all is to ensure an educated republic who will contribute to our society. We have not control over content or indoctrination that can occur in private schools.Open Enrollment: The current deadlines and good cause exemptions should continue to exist in their current form. They give parents the right to choose alternate districts within a framework that allows districts to plan and budget for the number of students they expect to serve. While opening up the diversity plans may on the surface appear to support all parents and give them options, the reality is that many students will still be denied because surrounding districts do not have the facilities to accept many more than they are already serving. Instead of determining that students should be able to leave a failing school, why don't we support and fund those schools to ensure that they aren't failing? Maybe use the monies planned to support students attending nonpublic schools to support the public schools that need additional support.
01-22-2021
Caitlin Wiedenheft [Linn-Mar Community Schools]
Please vote no and keep public dollars for public schools.
01-22-2021
Deborah Weiss []
I am opposed to SSB 1065. I do not want my taxes supporting private vouchers. We should be proud of our public schools and putting our support toward them.
01-22-2021
Frank Swanson []
I guess I shouldnt be surprised that once again Iowa republicans are advancing legislation under some laughable pretext that will only aid private actors while hurting the most vulnerable Iowans. Yet here we are again, just as sure as farm runoff will cause thousands of iowans unnecessary cancers in the coming years. Iowa once prided itself on its educational system, yet as Republican control of state politics has only increased, we have moved to the back of the line. I would not dare encourage someone to move this state if they had children, and you seek to make the problem worse.
01-22-2021
Dan Ryan [Dowling Catholic High School]
The creation of an ESA program does not mean the reduction of public education funding. The focus of the ESA program is to empower parents to make the best choice for their childs education. This is not a public versus private school debate it is about educating all children in the best way possible. ESA proposals call for a state grant from the General Fund to be deposited in each students ESA. If a student transfers from a public school, the remaining educational funds (property taxes, federal support) remain in the public school system to enrich the quality of education. Additionally, the public school district no longer bears the cost of educating that child, which can be significantly higher than the amount of an ESA.
01-22-2021
Chris Hoover [Maquoketa Schools]
Thank you for taking time to read my comments in regard to SSB 1065. I am asking you to invest in Iowas public schools, which educate 94% of Iowa students. Our public dollars need to go toward public education. As a public school we are open to ALL students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. The bill that is being proposed would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.Funds used for a public purpose should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings.As the Superintendent of a school district with almost 20% of its students needing Special Education services and 52% of its children living in poverty, diverting public funds from our public school to private schools only widens the gap that already exists for our students. I implore you to think about the survival of not only my students, but ALL rural school students who depend on adequate state funding to receive the services that they need. Respectfully,Chris HooverSuperintendent of SchoolsMaquoketa Community Public School District
01-22-2021
Molly Monk []
Iowa used to have a national reputation for excellence in education. Bills like this that take away public funding for public schools will only continue to destroy that reputation and will fail our children.
01-22-2021
Rachael Holmes []
This bill will essentially defund our already woefully under funded public schools in favor of private schools that don't have to abide by the same standards as public schools. Private schools are a choice and should not be funded by tax payers. Iowa used to be known for its excellent schools and quality education and this bill will only add to our now failing educational institutions.
01-22-2021
Nathan Wear [Linn-Mar CSD]
I would like to register my opinion on SSB 1065. This bill contains language that would undermine public education in Iowa. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings.More than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings according to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis. Vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.This bill is an assault on public education. We have state support for parentchoice with our current nonpublic system. Nathan Wear, Associate SuperintendentLinnMar CSD2999 N. 10th St.Marion, IA 52302
01-22-2021
Marcus Hall []
I dont want my money going to private schools.
01-22-2021
Suzanne Lang []
Public dollars should be used for public schools. Our state has always valued public education, and with this bill it is threatening to destroy the very thing my family moved here for. Without strong public school, why would anyone want to stay in Iowa or move to Iowa? Brain drain is bad enough as it is.
01-22-2021
Megan DeYarman []
Public funds should be used for public schools, not to subsidize private institutions without any sort of accountability for the quality of education provided nor for the use of the funds themselves.
01-22-2021
Michael Bates []
I support public education, do not believe it should be the public's job to subsidize parents who do not avail themselves of the public school system, particularly when you by taking money from the public education system. I do not support this bill, nor will I support any member of the legislature who votes in its favor.
01-22-2021
Ted Weiland []
As someone who works in public education in Iowa (community college) I'd like to see public monies support public education. Public education provides a needed and necessary service to us all. We should focus the resources on those students in public education.
01-22-2021
Jennifer Hampel []
I strongly oppose this bill. Iowa public schools need increased funding, increased teacher pay, and additional staffing to improve our declining rank in education. School choice does not equal better education outcomes.
01-22-2021
Matt Wyatt [Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community Schools Board of Education]
I am writing to express my opposition to SSB 1065. I do not believe any of this bill is in the best interest of Iowa or our public schools.Use public dollars for public schools. Period. The publics investment should be used to support public community schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status and disability, not for a new entitlement program for parents who choose private education.Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board, are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same public standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used, but are left in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.
01-22-2021
Dan Stevenson []
I am opposed to SSB 1065. I do not want my taxes supporting private vouchers. We should be proud of our public schools and putting our support toward them.
01-22-2021
Kyle Reeve [Tilford Elementary]
Public dollars should be allocated for public entities in terms of education, simply put. Diverting these dollars for public schools will do far more harm than good for the state of Iowa in the long run.
01-22-2021
Bill Claassen []
Dump this bill. Tax dollars should not go to religious organizations. This will kill our public school system. We all pay taxes for that. People with kids shouldnt get to take money away just because they want to do something else. If thats the case, then I want money that I paid for my use.
01-22-2021
Michael Cotton []
Public money must go to public schools. Diverting funds to forprofit, private schools does not improve the education in this state. I am against this bill and any other that attempts to weaken our public schools by giving that money to private schools.
01-22-2021
Kathryn Hellstern []
The majority of private schools are religious. (source: https://nces.ed.gov/programs/schoolchoice/ind03.asp) I do not want my tax dollars to go to religious schools. Especially when churches themselves do not pay taxes. The catholics have been guilting people out of money for centuries; they don't need any money from me. Please earmark my dollars for the kids in my neighborhood who are constantly told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but who are never given any boots to begin with.
01-22-2021
Nikolas Nartowicz [Americans United for Separation of Church and State]
Please find my comments in the attached document. Thank you.
Attachment
01-22-2021
Diana Boeglin []
I strongly object to this bill. It would erode our alreadystruggling and underfunded public schools. The existence of private schools should not occur at the expense and detriment of public schools, nor should taxpayer money be used to support schools that engage in religious proselytizing.
01-22-2021
Quinn Dreasler []
As a public school teacher it seems to me to be an incredibly irresponsible diversion of resources when so many public schools lack funding or are underfunded. Asking public school teachers to do twice the work this year with limited or no safety protocol in place, and then having the audacity to think that diverting money away from institutions that feed and care for children is going to have a good effect? Iowa used to take pride in its public education system. No Iowan wants their tax dollars going to these privatelyowned institutions. Caring for Iowa's children means funding public schools, ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to learn.
01-22-2021
Patricia Walsh []
As an Iowa tax payer and retired teacher, I am opposed to Iowa tax dollars going to private schools. It will have a negative effect on underprivileged students, students with disabilities and rural students. This will secure a further divide. Public funds should go to public school.
01-22-2021
Pete Haefs []
This bill starts moving the state positively in the right direction towards honoring the parent's choice to give their child the best education they can. And education less based on geography or income bracket, but more an education that matches the family's vision for their child's future. Any time the government becomes heavily involved in a personal decision, it should do from a perspective of supporting the families growth towards developing their gifts for the betterment of their family as well as the state and nation. Education is one of those areas the government is heavily involved. And I would argue this is a good thing. We have many wonderful public school districts that help their families achieve their potential. We have many wonderful nonpublic schools doing the same, but with much more significant sacrifice by their families. We have families choosing to fully embrace the work to educate their children at home. Legislation like this starts the work of government towards using its resources to support the dreams of its citizens, rather than dictating those dreams. And when the family has this freedom and support it has a much better ability to produce citizens that will create a bright future for the state itself.
01-22-2021
Maria Ernzen []
I don not support my tax dollars going towards private schools. Public tax dollars should go towards public schools only. Funding has been cut towards education over the years. You want to improve Iowa's educational system, then pay our teachers more, fund the rural and smaller schools or schools that are struggling. Find solutions to fix our educational shortfalls don't just take funding away and set them up to fail. I'm not a parent but what I think is proposed is common sense wrong. I do not want my tax dollars to pay for private schools.
01-22-2021
Katelyn Handler []
I am writing to register my strong objection to SSB 1065. As a native Iowan born and raised here, part of the reason for our decision to move back to Iowa was due to the strong public school system here. It boggles my mind that Iowa would risk its reputation for outstanding public education in the name of "school choice," particularly when so many communities lack alternative schooling options. This seems to be a way to shift public tax money to private, primarily religious, institutions. Please find ways to better fund Iowa's public schools and support Iowa teachers.
01-22-2021
Michael Smith []
I do not support SSB 1065 and am writing to express my concern regarding the bill. As Iowans, we have always prided ourselves in the idea of a strong and equal public education; it is definitely something that I myself have expressed to people who live outside of Iowa. I believe that using public funds for private school vouchers will truly weaken our public education system. I think it will also promote inequality by unfairly impacting rural schools and districts.
01-22-2021
Phillip Burgart []
Public money should be for public schools, period. Make Iowa schools great again.
01-22-2021
Connie Jacobson []
I want to be on record in strong opposition to this education bill.
01-22-2021
Bridget Nixon []
This would be harmful to rural and underfunded public schools. Keep public money in public schools. I am opposed to this bill and would like to see it fail to pass out of committee.
01-22-2021
Stacy Claeys []
We need to invest our tax dollars in our public education system. It's ridiculous to spend tax dollars funding private education and gut our public schools.
01-22-2021
Matt Johnston []
Public dollars should be used for public schools. Period. If parents want choice and don't want their child to attend a public school like everyone else's kids, have them attend a parochial/private school and pay for it themselves. Taxpayers should not be subsidizing private schools under the guise of "school choice". Private schools can admit who they like and many don't give their teachers benefits or even decent pay. There is no way taxpayers should be forced to pay for that system, particularly with laws like ADA. I am a teacher and have taught in both smaller rural schools and larger Des Moines metroarea schools, and I can tell you with certainty that such a move will DOOM rural communities. Public schools are already struggling with funding; the solution is absolutely not this shortsighted bill that will strangle their budgets and enrollments further. You want public education to improve? Invest in it with some of the BILLION dollars the state has sitting around that they won't even touch during a onceinahundredyears pandemic.
01-22-2021
Lindsay Washburn []
Taxes should go to funding public schools. No to school vouchers.
01-22-2021
Mary Murphy [Parent]
1. It would cost too much money to make Student First Scholarships available to students who are already enrolled in private schools. This is money the state is NOT spending now. Plus, you would be adding more administrative overhead to the Department of Education. which has no experience managing such scholarships. Generally, state administrative agencies should be smaller, not bigger. Iowa can't even adequately support mental health needs, which is a bigger priority.2. Out of state businesses that run charter schools should not be able to come into Iowa and take my tax dollars. And they should especially not be able to take and use tax dollars when they and their charter schools are not subject to the open meetings and open records law. It would be a huge travesty, to permit Iowan's tax dollars to go to out of state charter school founders and investors who have no real scrutiny and won't spend all of the money in Iowa.3. Research does not support SSB 1065. Charter schools are found to discriminate against students in their admissions process based on disability and ethnicity. Please see http://www.columbia.edu/psb2101/BergmanMcFarlinschoolchoice.pdf at page 19. "We find that, on average, schools are significantly less likely to provide information to families withstudents who have low grades, behavior problems, or an IEP requiring they be taught in a separateclassroom, than to families of students without these attributes. Charter schools are significantly lesslikely to reply to students to the IEP message than to the baseline message, while traditional publicschools are not. There is also some evidence that schools are less likely to respond to families withHispanicsounding names."4. My school district passed a big general obligation bond in 2017. I object to any of public school buildings paid for by tax dollars being leased or purchased by charter school investors especially as my property taxes will be used for the next couple of decade to pay down the GO bonds. If a founding or outside group wants to come into Iowa to set up a private school, they can do it on their own dime! All of the charter school requirements look good on paper but haven't stopped charter school scandals across the country. Iowa's role model for education should not be Florida or Arizona or Mississippi.5. I don't want a charter school to be a school within the public school system. Public school districts can already set up magnet schools. The law doesn't need to be made more complicated.6. If you want to do something for parents and education, get rid of the incessant assessments and don't let outside businesses have access to our children's data. Its morally and ethically wrong to permit school districts to have control over my children's data. That right should belong to parents. Nor does Iowa need to track children's data from the cradle to the grave. Be transparent about what data elements are in Iowa's longitudinal database and don't combine education with workforce data.
01-22-2021
Ally Shaver []
I do not think this bill is good idea. To reiterate what a lot of Iowans have already said, Iowa's tax dollars belong to the public school systems in the state. Public schools need the funding from the state to provide options for those enrolled. If a parent wants to send their child to a private school, then they have the money to pay for it. Point blank simple. Please vote NO to the vouchers, and keep public funding with the public schools.
01-22-2021
Melissa Osborne []
Im a parent of two elementary students who attend a public school. Please do not allow this bill to pass out of committee. This proposal cannot benefit Iowas public schools, which were once the envy of the nation. Theyre one of the reasons that I stayed in Iowa to raise a family after completing my college education. Additionally, this bill would disproportionately impact rural schools, which are already struggling. In these difficult times we need to build up our public schools, not privatize education.
01-22-2021
Katie Buresh []
I am contacting the committee in regards to to this bill, as so many others have done. I strongly oppose sending public funds to private schools and do not believe this bill is about school choice. Rather, the bill will allow wealthier students (many of whom would be attending private school anyway) to divert taxpayer dollars to private institutions. As members of the committee, can you honestly say that you believe this bill will result in struggling or historically underserved populations opting out of their neighborhood public schools? As a parent of two children who attended a socalled struggling school, I contest the notion that the public school system is failing our children in any way. I would invite the committee to visit a school like the one my children attended in a socioeconomically and racially diverse neighborhood in Cedar Rapids before they make decisions that would further reduce funding.
01-22-2021
Tom Smalley []
Then if i send my kids to a private school why should i send my tax dollars to other schools? its like giving my money to McDonalds and get a BurgerKing and vice versa and as Lex says ...... maybe LEX should PAY for a TOLL Road even thou she does not use it? i do think the messaging on this bill was lost? near all that oppose think this is public money, when in fact i see it as the parents money they send into the state , i see nothing wrong with giving back that wish to use another school to send there kids too?
01-22-2021
Tanya Street []
I am 100% opposed to this Why would our public dollars go to private schools? PUBLIC dollars should go to PUBLIC Schools. Please listen to your constituents and say no to this bill.
01-22-2021
Mary Hampel []
I am opposed to the idea of using vouches send students to private schools. Please use your time and energy to look at the public schools in our state and how to improve them for our children. This is not the time to funnel money away from public education.
01-22-2021
Ashley Smith [West Liberty High School]
Do not approve SSB 1065. Public schools reach about 94% of Iowa children, and provide a quality education to all kids regardless of color, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. State taxes from Iowans like me already provide over $65 billion in funding to homeschool and private school settings. Vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. I am a teacher in a rural district and I know that the survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding. Budget cuts that will follow legislation like this would destroy students' access to academic, athletic, musical, and artistic opportunities.
01-22-2021
Mallory Vallentine []
I am opposed to SSB 1065. Vouchers gut our public school systems. I work in a low income school district, and I know how much student funding means to our district. I do not want my taxes supporting private vouchers. Please put your support toward public schools instead.
01-22-2021
Joanna Smith-Dromey [citizen]
Keep public schools public and taxfunded. People who don't wish their kids to participate in public education already have the ability to opt out. They'll need to continue to pay for it.
01-22-2021
Howard Berger []
I am a public school parent and teacher. I am proudly public school educated as well. I happily pay tax dollars to support Iowas great public schools. I do not want my tax dollars going to support private schools. Strong public schools are valuable for our entire state. This plan will destroy them.
01-22-2021
CARL SHANK []
Parents providing private instruction (also known as homeschooling) should not be eligible to apply for vouchers. The bill's sponsor said that the purpose of the bill is to encourage competition among schools, which he thinks will lead to improvement. State funding of private instruction would not encourage competition among schools. Thank you
01-22-2021
Amanda Hajek []
This bill undermines the importance of our public schools and the opportunities they provide for all children in our state. Please carefully examine and consider the harm this will cause our schools and the children who attend them. As a mother of a kindergartener and as public educator myself, I see everyday the impact funding has on the quality of the education in our buildings. Public funds are for public schools.
01-22-2021
Regina Meyer []
This is a terrible bill. Iowa tax dollars should be spent on public schools. Invest in public schools, don't abandon them. Vote no!
01-22-2021
Ann Nicholson []
Our tax dollars should be used to support public schools. All students in Iowa have access to a free public school education. Vouchers would funnel funds from public education (which provides education to ALL students, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status) to private schools that are not required to follow the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Also, private schools do not have the same accountability as public schools and are not required to admit any and all students.In conclusion, tax money should be used to support and improve public education for all students instead of providing vouchers for some students.
01-22-2021
John Bisenius []
This bill will weaken an already taxed public school infrastructure and system. Vouchers will pull money away from a system most families will utilize and give the money to schools outside of oversight at times. This will increase the gaps between SES levels and disparity because of those levels.
01-22-2021
Joy Augustine []
I oppose SSB 1065 and urge all subcommittee members to do the same. Our public tax dollars are for public education. The children of our state are counting on us!
01-22-2021
Justin Daggett [Manson-NW Webster CSD]
I appreciated what Senator Kraayenbrink said in his weekly newsletter "Iowa has a proud tradition of strong and effective public education. Last year Iowa was number one in average ACT scores, number one in dual enrollment and number one in high school graduation rate." The governor's proposed bill seems to be trying to fix something broken in public education, with the solution being private education, and it makes me ask the question what problem is she trying to solve?
01-22-2021
greg wickenkamp []
I've studied school funding and efficacy at a graduate level. The bulk of these studies make clear that using public funds for private schools, or schools not beholden to education regulations, harms the public. It does not result in improved outcomes but rather exacerbates social inequities.Iowa was once known for its strong public schools. It no longer is. Rather than continuing this decline by taking public money and syphoning it off to private or charter schools, to improve educational outcomes the state could instead invest more heavily in public education. Doing the latter would result in greater outcomes for students.As someone who has taught for a decade in both public and private schools in Iowa, I know that public schools schools do better at serving the public interests if they are adequately funded. Please do not use public money for private organizations, which are less accountable to the public. Instead, reinvest in public schools. Allow teachers collective bargaining rights. Our future depends on an educated populace, and having an educated populace depends on wellfunded public schools.
01-22-2021
Fr. Noah Diehm [La Salle Catholic School]
I think the State has an obligation to support the education of Iowa's children, whether that education happens at a public school or not. In many places, nonpublic schools are actually an essential part of the whole "picture" of education in that area. Without nonpublic schools, some public schools would be overrun and unable to accommodate all of the educational needs of the children within the area. Also, nonpublic schools support the prerogative of parents to raise their children in a way consistent with their values and beliefs. Supporting education in the broad sense doesn't mean that there will then be an "us vs. them" mentality automatically established we can instead choose to see that it's a good thing that we're empowering children to receive an education that will allow them to achieve their potential, regardless of where that education is attained. Putting students first is a good step forward for education in Iowa.
01-22-2021
Stacey Hornung []
I am writing to ask that you NOT support this bill. Instead I ask that you Invest in Iowas public schools, which educate 94% of Iowa students. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings.More than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings according to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis.Vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.Thank you,Stacey Hornung
01-22-2021
Dennis Quint []
Dear Members of the Senate Subcommittee,Thank you for your service. I am writing to communicate my support of SSB1065. It will help families to choose an appropriate education for their children. Public funds often are directed to enhance public life through nonpublic entities such as private businesses and contractors, as well as hospitals and social service agencies. Assist those institutions that are effectively making a difference, especially in the lives of our children.I also support increasing the tuition and textbook tax credit, which has not been increased for a long time.Dennis Quint
01-22-2021
Elizabeth Kreher []
Public dollars should be used for public schools. Strong public schools = a strong education system and community. Many states that have school voucher systems in place dont have strong education systems. Why would we want to sacrifice a history of strong Iowa schools for a bill that would benefit a small number of students? I have family members that live in states that have voucher systems and their education systems arent even close to being as strong as ours in Iowa.This proposal would spend approximately $50 million to benefit a very small percentage of students. Especially at a time when public schools are facing extreme challenges due to the pandemic and already being underfunded. Available resources should go to support the more than 480,000 public school students in ALL of Iowa, not just a small percentage.
01-22-2021
Nemezy Rios []
Thanks to the financial aid that nonpublic schools have like that of Siouxland Christian my family had the ability to be able to not only enroll one child but two on a one income home salary. With the possible increase in financial aid and possible book tax deductions, it would mean that more families like myself would be able to go to these schools. These schoolsthat offer not only great education but it would offer a child the ability to thrive when they thought they couldn't.
01-22-2021
Lisa Talbert []
Nonpublic education has become more important today than it has ever. With the infringements on our freedoms this year on free speech, freedom of religion (which was originally meant for freedom to practice whatever religion you wanted, not how it is interpreted today), and many other freedoms that have been threatened to be squashed, many parents have fled the public education system. Our school has seen this in high enrollments this year. We saw this coming many years ago, and never enrolled our children into public education and are thankful to this day for this decision. This comes as a major sacrifice financially but it is a sacrifice we are willing to take. I think if 2020 taught us anything, it is that our public education system is majorly fractured and unhealthy. And because we live in a free country and the great state of Iowa, we should not only fix these problems, but we should allow parents to decide where to send their children and not penalize them by making private education so unaffordable. All children deserve to right to go to whatever school they choose no matter what race, religion, or socioeconomic status they come from. Please thoughtfully consider this bill for the future of Iowa's children. A future that will be brighter with nonpublic education.
01-22-2021
Tricia Yanney []
We believe very strongly in private education because we feel that Christian education in its purest form was the original intent of our Constitution . The original intent of the establishment clause of the first amendment was not to keep the government from funding churches or Christian education, nor was it to keep religious principles out of government and public forum, but it was to protect our country from establishing a one state church like in England. By understanding this principle, we should receive public funding.
01-22-2021
Becky Keogh []
More funding for public schools is needed for Iowa, not "scholarships" to private/charter schools.
01-22-2021
Craig Jackman []
I would like the committee to support SSB 1065. An Educational Savings Account program would empower lowincome families, single parents and workingclass families who cannot afford private education options or afford to relocate to a different school district. An ESA program in Iowa means students would have access to an education that sets them up for success regardless of zip code or family income.
01-22-2021
Debbie Koopman []
I oppose this school voucher bill. My entire life as an Iowan I have been proud of our education system. What on earth are some people thinking? They are thinking of themselves. Our system in Iowa gave great opportunities to our children and consistency throughout the state. Now you are going to "cut" the money to support our children's schools? Have you no heart? We take care of the poor and disadvantaged. We lead them out of their circumstances towards a more productive life. That helps everyone. Now if I had a religious preference, as many of my friends did, I would choose the alternative and know that my taxes went to those who had the most need. Please don't make a change that we will regret for generations! I know of people who tried to homeschool and failed totally and returned their children to public school. We had better be using our time to make more rules for homeschoolers. What standards are expected and checked on early... in their school year. Let's be more wise by keeping the high Iowa standards of the past and not messing with what works!
01-22-2021
Rick Loutsch []
SB 1065 is a good start towards the support of Educational Savings Accounts which is important to allow families the opportunity to pursue an education they believe is best for their children, however it should be available to all families in the state of Iowa. It is important to note that if a student enrolls into a private school parents of that student will still be paying taxes that support the public school system and the public school will no longer bear the expense of educating that student. School choice actually saves our state millions of dollars every year by not bearing the full cost of educating those students who enroll in private education while still collecting tax revenue from those families. SB 1065 also provides expanded tuition and textbook tax credits which can benefit all Iowans in addition to allowing educators (who often spend their some of their own money on teaching expenses) the opportunity to deduct certain expenses related to education.
01-22-2021
Mark Wilden []
As a taxpayer, I do NOT want my money going to fund private and/or religious schools. Public money is for public schools.Educational Savings Accounts (ESA) use taxpayer dollars to support schools that are exempt from oversight and are not required to accept all students like public schools are. I do NOT want my taxpayer money funding schools that can legally discriminate based on disability, gender identity, sexuality, religious preferences or economic status.ESA funds are not audited and have no safeguards against fraud or misuse.More than $52million of Iowa taxpayer money already funnels into nonpublic schools, private instruction and homeschooling. Why do they need MORE funding?ESAs hurt EVERY public school and EVERY public school student in our state
01-22-2021
Jeff Barr [Gilbert CSD]
I know that you have a lot on your plates, so I will come to the point. I love the idea of helping private schools. My concern is that this might not be the right time. My request is that we make sure Iowa's public schools are on a safe and sound financial footing before we look to help our private school friends. The pandemic has been hard on us all. Please let us recover before we help our friends.Thank you very much for all of your hard work!Jeff Barr6th8th Grade Special Education TeacherGilbert Middle School
01-22-2021
Linda Robbins []
Iowa used to have great public schools. Changes in funding have changed that. I do not want any of my tax dollars going to private schools through a voucher process or any other way. Invest the money in the public schools. That is who taxpayers should pay for. My money should not be used to send wealthy students to a private school. Disadvantaged children cant go to private schools. The other issue is systematic racism will only be reinforced if this is allowed
01-22-2021
Chris McCarville [Xavier High School]
I applaud the committee for considering this important issue. This bill would help provide options for Iowa families. The misnomer that a bill such as this would take funds from public school districts is simply false. At its heart, this bill helps to provide an avenue for parents to make the best educational choice for their child. This bill also helps to provide sorely needed equity for Iowa families within a child's educational experience. This measure would be an excellent start toward the establishment of ESAs, which would have even more impact for Iowa families. I enthusiastically support this bill.
01-22-2021
Alison Patenaude []
This undermines public education and is an attack on schools in rural America. In no way should a voucher system be implemented if you truly value educators, students, and their education.
01-22-2021
Jenny Becker []
I do not support a voucher system for education. Public dollars should fund public schools. Rural communities especially need the support of the state for their public schools. Creating a voucher system to help fund private education will hurt the rural communities of Iowa. The rural communities are the backbone of Iowa. Please, do not support this bill.
01-22-2021
Gloria Zmolek [Retired Educator]
I am not in favor of spending my tax dollar to provide vouchers for students to attend private schools. I feel this would only serve to weaken the public schools by taking away funding and would ultimately contribute to the divide between the haves and have nots.
01-22-2021
Amy MacKrell []
I am opposed to SSB 1065. Public tax dollars should NOT be used to support private interests. Current research shows that Iowa's taxpayer funded public schools offer better student outcomes than voucher schools. In addition, this thinlyveiled attempt at privatization is detrimental to those in need of special services those who private schools don't need to "accept." PUBLIC money should only support PUBLIC schools.
01-22-2021
Caryn Kelly [WDMCS]
The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. I wholeheartedly disagree with SSB 1065: Student First Scholarship Program. As a mother of two schoolaged children, and an employee of public schools, I ask you to reject this bill and focus attention and resources to supporting ALL children and families in our state.Caryn Kelly
01-22-2021
Nichole Ziemann-Dow []
I do not support SSB 1065. I believe that public dollars should stay in public schools. Our public schools have already been starved by lack of funds and this would increasingly divert funds from struggling school. Iowa has not prioritized it's public schools for far too long. It is shameful. further voucher systems create additional inequities along socioeconomic=, racial, and ability lines. This will adversely impact students of lesser economic means, students with disabilities, and children of color. This is wrong for Iowa and I do not support this!! I will never again vote for a rep who supports this measure!!!
01-22-2021
Scot Hughes []
Diverting public school funding to private schools is a gross dereliction of our duty to our public education system. If students find themselves in a struggling school system, the solution is not to give them state taxpayer money to bail out to a private school; the solution is to commit resources to that public school system to make it better. How does diverting taxpayer money away from public schools supposed to improve public schools?Using state taxpayer money for private schools should also require those private schools to follow the same rules as public schools; no discrimination for enrollment, establishment of special education programs, the works. If you take taxpayer funding you should play by the rules. If you want to remain a private institution, you shouldnt be able to take state tax funds.Allowing students free transfers out of schools subject to diversity orders just defeats the entire idea of diversity. Diversity requires diversity of thought, diversity of viewpoint, diversity of backgrounds ... if a student isnt comfortable with that, thats probably because they need MORE exposure to diversity,, not that they need permission to flee to a school that fits their limited worldview.
01-22-2021
Mindi Myers [West Des Moines Community Schools]
I am opposed to SSB 1065. A bill that pulls public tax funds away from public schools is problematic. Public schools are held to standards of transparency that private schools are not in regards to reporting scores and expenditures. Allowing public tax dollars to pay for individual private tuition is pulling funds away from schools who are already operating with too little, and will make it even more difficult to meet the needs of our diverse populations. Parents have the right to enroll their children in whichever school they choose, but not with public taxpayer funds.
01-22-2021
Cyndi Hanson []
I support the creation of the Student First Scholarship. This provides an avenue for ALL parents to have access to quality education for their children, regardless of their geographical location, income levels or other factors. Many nonpublic schools operate with greater efficiency and higher educational outcomes. My decision to move her from public school to private school in 1st grade meant a commitment to many years of tuition out of pocket. However, the change in my daughter's academic performance, selfesteem and stress level was worth the cost. Having served on the school board of that school, I can assure you the nonpublic schools do everything within their power to provide teachers with the best possible support to allow them to focus on student learning. As a professional in postsecondary education, I see the difference in rate of dual credit attainment, ontime graduation and collegegoing between those attending public schools and nonpublic schools. This difference is compounded for children of color, who are often left behind in public schools. Providing every parent residing in a district where a school's performance is subpar, the opportunity to 'opt out' and choose a higher quality alternative is necessary for advancement of our great state.
01-22-2021
Katherine Craven []
I strongly oppose using public funds for private education. This diverts much needed funds away from our public schools. Also, vouchers are inherently detrimental to students in rural districts. They can never benefit from a voucher program where no private option exists. It only damages our hardworking farm families. Please do not pursue this legislation. Sincerely, an Iowa educator residing in a rural area.
01-22-2021
Shana Tow [West Des Moines Community Schools Parent and Volunteer]
Please don't pass this bill. We are a religious family but chose to put our kids in public schools as not to create a (further) divide between the haves and havenots. This is a not going to take us in the step of healing and equity, but in the direction of further ostracizing the families that cannot support (even with the voucher) the expenses of private school. Why not support the public schools that are trying to make ends meet and make them a place everyone can succeed instead of cutting the funds. Please do not pass this bill.
01-22-2021
Luis Suarez []
I am very much opposed to this "creatively" worded SSB 1065 bill. This does not in fact help our public schools, but rather takes money away from them and further takes decisionmaking away from local schools. If private schools are going to receive public money, then they should have the same requirements and funding rules as the public schools. Public school funding needs to be reformed to help public schools, not further hinder them.This is a bad and unjust idea.Thanks,Luis SuarezParent, educator, and Voter
01-22-2021
Brooke Acheson [West Des Moines Parent]
I firmly oppose SSB 1065! I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, BUT NOT WITH PUBLIC TAXPAYER FUNDS!
01-22-2021
Allison Koontz [West Des Moines Community Schools]
Hello,I am writing in opposition to SSB 1065.Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. WDMCS is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.SSB 1065 will not support the needs of all students.
01-22-2021
Zachary Zeckser []
I have seen so many children benefit from the opportunity to move to Catholic schools. I think dollars belong to the people and that the dollars should follow the people (as opposed to one school system or another). I am a strong proponent of families choosing the education that fits their children, and allowing families to receive as much of their fair contribution of tax dollars for their own educational choices. I think all schools, and certainly all students, benefit when we let families choose for their children. Thank you!
01-22-2021
Brenda Meester []
Public dollars need to stay with public schools. Strengthening our public education system benefits our society as a whole rather than for the few. Our children and teachers deserve better.
01-22-2021
Trina Miller [West Des Moines Community School]
I urge you to oppose this bill. I am a public school teacher and it is my honor to serve all of our beautiful children, regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. That is not the case with private or religious schools. I strongly believe in choice for families, but not with public funding. As a local taxpayer in my community, I believe public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students and require public accountability and transparency. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers, like myself, have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.Please, please, please oppose this bill and continue to support strong public education in Iowa. Public school teachers, like myself, go to our schools each day and serve Iowa's children no matter what. Please don't take additional resources and much needed funding away from the public schools. The future of our state depends upon the leaders we are educating today in our public schools. We are working so hard to ensure our leaders are prepared. Please oppose this bill and instead show your support for EVERY Iowa child and the public schools that are educating them.
01-22-2021
Tamara Tjeerdsma [Jordan Creek Elementary School]
As an administrator, I do not support this for several reasons:Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. WDMCS is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.
01-22-2021
Lynn Knudson [West Des Moines Community Schools]
As a taxpayer, a public school employee, and parent I vehemently OPPOSE SSB 1065 for the following reasons, as stated by WDMCS superintendent, Dr. Lisa Remy: Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. WDMCS is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.I urge you to vote against the passage of this bill.
01-22-2021
Erin Boote []
Rural schools are already struggling with small class sizes. Pulling public funding for diversion to private schools is incredibly irresponsible and will result in lower quality education and longer bus routes after districts are forced to merge. Iowa used to be known for its quality public schools but over the last 20 years we seem to be trying our hardest to make that just a fading memory!
01-22-2021
Patricia Joelson []
So you want to privatize public schools through vouchers and charters. (Privatization of Medicaid didnt go do well). Those who choose PUBLIC monies should also follow the same rules and transparently as public schools. Now why would Iowa do this?*we are 8th in the nation for education. States withESA rank 25th49th. Why do we want to fall in our ranking?76,000 rural Iowa students have no private (choice option) in their area. Rural communities are your bread and butter as fas as voting red. What are you going to tell them. Sorry you have to travel an hour to get your school choice!This bill will decimate public education. Do your homework and read up about all Michigans and Arizonas problems. It is so devastating. Teachers have been hardworking, creative and strong during this pandemic. The Iowa legislature continued to demean and disrespect them. I dont get it. But on this one, you are hurting the students, especially kids with learning and/ or mental health issues.
01-22-2021
Jennifer George [WDMCS]
This bill is insulting to public school teachers everywhere. You have already made things as hard as you could have possibly made it this school year by not appropriately funded schools at the state level for the additional mitigation strategies that were required for combating CoVID19. Vouchers undermine the struggling schools that are already underfunded as it is. More funds should be given to these schools, not less. As an educator, this is the worst direction we can go as a state if we want to improve our education situation. I am suggesting that you drop this piece of legislation and instead, draft something that treats the schools and the educators that run them like the heroes that they are.
01-22-2021
Michael Tutty []
This bill is 95% terrible ideas. The people who refuse to properly fund public schools are now in a big hurry to create NEW funding for students to LEAVE public schools?If you hate public programs, fine! Go have your private whatever you like that's privately funded. But don't become a public servant for the purpose of DESTROYING public programs.
01-22-2021
Jesse Howard [New London Community School District ]
Use public dollars for public schools. Period.The publics investment should be used to support public community schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status and disability, not for a new entitlement program for parents who choose private education. Public funds require public accountability and transparency.Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board, are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same public standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used, but are left in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.
01-22-2021
Amy Adams [Iowa Resident ]
Two of our children attended private Catholic schools. Our son K5 and our daughter K2. Both of our children were regular education students, they did not have IEPs nor did they require any special services. This was not the case for our daughters classmate and a family friend who was on the autism spectrum. Their family was not able to get services to help with their sons educational needs. At first, the private school was willing to work with them on an IEP, but when it became clear that he would require more intensive services, the school simply wasnt willing to accommodate them or their childs needs. Sadly, this is the case for many special needs students in the private school system. Private schools are not required to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Public schools are required to take ALL students and meet their needs. Public schools serve ALL. The same cannot be said private schools, they can discriminate based on race, gender, or socioeconomic status. While regular education students may have their needs met at private schools, the same cannot be said for special education students. A school voucher program will set up a system of discrimination in Iowas schools.
01-22-2021
Blakely Mortvedt []
I am writing in opposition to this bill. This bill will negatively affect rural and underprivileged schools and will only perpetuate current problems with inequity. I choose to homeschool my kids, but my taxes still go to my public school system. I have made the choice to homeschool and do not expect anyone to pay for my curriculum. Similarly, if someone chooses to send their child(ren) to private school, they should not expect others to pay for all or part of that expense.We should be focusing on funding all schools properly, not diverting funds away from already underfunded schools.
01-22-2021
Joe Rios []
In reference to SB 1065, my family and I love Siouxland Christian and are very grateful for our children being able to attend. We are in support of SSB 1065. I am active duty Army and only able to afford to send my children to this school is by the grace of God and the tuition assistance program.
01-22-2021
Jacquelyn Tracey []
Charter schools only serve those who can afford transportation for their child. One more way to cater to those who can afford choices. I have friends who have worked in charter schools, they were paid less for more work, and had less ability to adjust the teaching to the students needs than they did in public schools. All of the teachers I know went back to public school teaching.
01-22-2021
Jason Alons [Orange City Christian School]
Please support SB 1065. Parental Involvement is the biggest indicator of success in education. Allowing parents to choose the school that best fits their childrens' needs seems to me to be a huge way to get parents involved. Open Enrollment, increasing the tuition and textbook tax credit, and ESAs are all parts to give parents the power to meet their childrens' needs. Thank you for your consideration.
01-22-2021
Emily Mullikin []
I strongly disagree with this. If we want to have a strong public school system we need to be supporting them with our tax dollars. I have had my kids in public school for 7 years and have been very pleased with the education they have received. Doing this will take money from those schools thus impacting the education children are receiving. This is not an acceptable use of tax dollars.
01-22-2021
Cheryl Kardell []
Tax funds should ONLY be used for PUBLIC SCHOOLS. My daughter attends a rural school district. You will KILL rural public schools with this voucher nonsense. i do not want MY taxes going to anyone elses schools but Iowa Public Schools. Wear your mask!
01-22-2021
Laura Heithoff []
When deciding whether to move back to Iowa after my husband's residency, it was Iowa's public schools that was the deciding factor to come back to Iowa to raise our kids. My husband and I are products of public schooling in Iowa from KCollege/Medical School. We were raised in the days of "Take Pride In Iowa Schools". I have since joined the proud ranks of Iowa public school educators. I am proud that we serve everyone, no matter ability, needs, nor socioeconomic status. We have been asked to do the impossible this year, along with many other people, and then we are "rewarded" with this bill. There are already open enrollment choices and we already subsidize private education in many ways. We are already underfunded while our state has a rainy day fund. It's raining NOW during the pandemic and economic crisis. Rural schools are the backbone of our small towns and you are considering breaking that backbone. I strongly oppose SSB 1065 and ask you to stop returning to this this year after year. Please actually pass legislation that helps educators and all students, not just those constituents with special interests and deep pockets. There will be a brain drain from Iowa when public schools are affected by this.
01-22-2021
Stacy Hansen [Parent]
Hello,The use of "scholarships" in this phrase is a catch phrase for voucher. Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds. Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. Schools are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.This is a slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program that will eventually segregate childrenpoor from rich, Black and children of color from white children, special needs and ESOL students from others. This bill moves education backward vs. forward. As a parent to Des Moines school children, as a neighbor and friend to my private school friends, and as a long life resident of Iowa, I do not support this measure. And I ask my elected officials to please, please, act on behalf of ALL children. And do not vote in favor of this bill.Thank you for your consideration,Stacy Hansen
01-22-2021
Lori Baker []
I am a public school teacher, but I urge you to support parents who desire a different option for their children. Consider whether it is more important to support students or to support systems. Parents have a variety of reasons for choosing a nonpublic option. We chose it because we adopted a child from Iowa foster care. He had a lot of issues and we felt that the structure and climate of private school would serve him best. It has been great for him.
01-22-2021
Duane (D.T.) Magee [Norwalk Community School District]
Dear Honorable Senators and Representatives, Please vote NO to any voucher scheme that has been or may be introduced during the current and future legislative sessions. School vouchers or Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) are not about school choice, but rather about funneling money to private entities that are able to avoid serving the needs of all students from different races, ethnicities, religions, academic abilities, or with disabilities. Here are a few points to consider:Public dollars should go to public schools. Taxpayer money needs to have accountability and transparency. Under a voucher system, taxpayer money would not be accounted for and up to the discretion of a students parents or guardian.This limited voucher program may seem innocuous but experience tells us that this is the first foot in the door for a fullscale voucher program.Taxpayer dollars should be used for education that is inclusive of all students. Nonpublic and religious schools are not required to accept all students.Please use the power of your vote to represent the overwhelming majority of your constituents who value local public schools and are not in favor of diverting critical resources from these bedrock institutions in our communities.
01-22-2021
Kristie VanGorkom []
NO on vouchers!
01-22-2021
Laura Greiner []
What is meant by "certain pupils" is a bit concerning, if it applies to every student then that is another story. However, I actually agree that the money should stay with the student, (if I am understanding this correctly) even if they choose to attend private school. Public schools are not a one size fits all and I think that Charter Schools are a great way to provide the level of education of a private school without the worry of costs. I also don't agree with the way Iowa handles Open Enrollment at the moment. Why, just because a student lives in a certain neighborhood, can they not make a choice as to where to attend school?! We are struggling with our public school right now, it is a toxic environment for our daughter and there is nothing we can do just because we missed an arbitrary deadline of March 1st last year?! If money follows the students then teachers and administrators will be more conscientious and work harder to actually teach and motivate their students to come to that particular school. Finally, I think that the ABC grading system is archaic. This is actually a grade that the teacher should be given. A good grade does not necessarily mean that the student has learned that skill and a bad grade does not necessarily mean that they haven't learned that skill. This is a reflection of how the teacher has taught the material and how important the material is to the student. Why can't students have more choice in what they study at an earlier age and why can a student at a smaller school have access to all the activities that the larger schools offer (70 years later still separate is not equal!)
01-22-2021
Marie Larchick []
I am opposed to SSB 1065. Our taxes should only support public schools in all areas of our state urban and rural. Do more to support quality public education for all Iowa children. NO to school vouchers!
01-22-2021
Sarah Boesch []
Hello,I am writing to express my support of the bill SSB 1065. This bill supports the nonpublic schools in a crucial way and I am excited to see it pushed forward to benefit our students. Thank you!
01-22-2021
Jonathan Grieder []
Vouchers would lead to the defunding of our public schools. This would only magnify the gross underfunding weve seen over the last decade. This proposal will merely ensure that the wealthiest continue to have the most access to resources while middle class and working class student are robbed of opportunities in order to pay for the privilege of the wealthy and well connected.
01-22-2021
Skye Welch []
I vehemently oppose any bill of such kind. This is not how tax payer dollars should be spent. If private and religious schools want government funding from tax dollars, then they need to be held to the same accountability and standards as public schools. It is completely ridiculous that this is even being considered. Taxes and public schools are not put in place solely for families with children. Public schools educate community members at the benefit of the entire community.Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. WDMCS is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.It is aslippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.This reeks of Betsy DeVos and her undeserved time spent in a position she was clearly unqualified for. Public schools benefit the entire community. If you take the funding away from schools, you take it away from the entire community.
01-22-2021
Mary Huneke [None]
I oppose this legislation. Tax dollars should go to support public education.
01-22-2021
Amanda Oleson []
Dear members,As a citizen, taxpayer, and educator in the state of Iowa I strongly oppose this bill. This so called "scholarship program" is a voucher program. Public dollars are for public schools. Public funds require transparency. Every school district is required to show evidence of student achievement and expenditures. The pandemic has already put students behind. Adding a voucher program will only create more of gap in student learning when they attend a religious or private school that isn't expected to be transparent. Why we would we want that for our students? People in the state of Iowa deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent and this bill would not be held to the same standard. Why are we trying to fix an education system that is not broken? If you look around our country where voucher programs are being used they are failing students and families. We can't fail our Iowa students and their families. We have a long standing history in this state for having a high quality education system. As an educator for 22 years, I would be ashamed and disappointed in our state if this bill were to pass. OPPOSE SSB1065!Amanda Oleson
01-22-2021
Dennis Wulf [Iowa State]
A hard no on any voucherlike proposal. A public education has served America remarkably well over time. Public is public. Private is private.
01-22-2021
Artis Reis []
I strongly support public education in Iowa. We used to be among the top education systems in the nation. Strong schools are good for children, parents, communities, businesses and for our future. We need better funding for our public schools. I oppose using public money for private schools.
01-22-2021
Tom Chapman [Iowa Catholic Conference]
The Iowa Catholic Conference is registered in support of SSB 1065.It is important to look at this bill first from the perspective of students and families, not institutions. We must focus on the students and the best ways to help some of them. We appreciate the governors Students First proposal as a starting point to help some parents choose the educational option that best fits their childs unique needs. We would like to see it expanded to help some of our current nonpublic school students who have been as affected by the pandemic as anyone else, rather than tying a scholarship to a particular residential area.Public schools will always be the backbone of our educational system. Our estimate is that the Students First scholarship program, if funded as drafted in Division I, at most would cost less than 1% of the total spending on K12 education in Iowa from the federal government, state, and local property taxes.We have some concern about the purpose and use of the required new database found in Division IV that would require participation by nonpublic schools at the cost of up to $7 per student.Thank you for your consideration.
01-22-2021
Brittania Morey [Linn-Mar Community School District Board of Education]
Good afternoon,I am writing to speak against SSB 1065. In short, public funds should be used to support public schools. We should not be diverted dollars away from our already underfunded public schools to fund vouchers for private institutions. When tax dollars are spent there should be accountability and transparency. This does not happen in private schools, which are not held to the same standards as public school systems. We already have openenrollment options in Iowa, and families already have the choice to attend private schools. Additional voucher programs should not be created to facilitate a system that already exists.In the Governor's Condition of the State address, she mentioned that the quality of education should not be determined by a zip code and that families should have a choice. I agree with the first half of that statement. My question would be why isn't there a bill that makes the zip code irrelevant. The real problem is that funding is not equitable and that we should be looking at why certain schools are finding less success and are less desirable to certain families. This is the problem that needs addressed, not taking more funding away from public schools.The state already spends more than $65 million in state tax dollars supporting students in private schools and homeschool programs according to Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis. The state should not direct any further funding away from public schools. In addition, study after study shows that charter schools do not perform better than public schools. More often they have lower test scores and fail to meet standards. And with little to no oversight, they become a burden on taxpayers and a detriment to students and communities. Please do not pass a bill that again removes needed resources from public schools in Iowa and gamble them on a template that continues to fail across the country.I respectfully urge you to invest our public resources in our public school systems. Rebuild Iowa's education system so we can once again lead the nation in education.Thank you.
01-22-2021
Linda Fritts []
I oppose this measure. Public dollars should go to public schools (which have already been weakened by previous legislation/allocation).
01-22-2021
Wendy Kepford []
Vouchers simply remove money from our public schools. They do not improve the quality of our schools or support our public schools. Vouchers primarily support families that already have resources and remove support for families who depend on our public schools. Stop vouchers
01-22-2021
Janice Weiner []
I am the proud product of Iowa public schools. Excellent public schools have long been a reason that people who come to Iowa for a job often stay. I know thats one key reason my parents stayed.Simply put, public tax dollars my tax dollars and yours are for public schools. Public schools are for everyone and often provide a leg up for people. Public schools are for everyone and they have long been our calling card. If someone wishes his or her children to attend a private school, that is fine, but it is literally on them.This bill would suck funds away from public schools and also risk further gutting rural schools. If that is your goal to hurt those who live in rural areas and whose schools are the heart of their community then go right ahead. Seriously, it is a bad bill, it will degrade public schools and drive good teachers away.
01-22-2021
Lisa Sobotka [WDMCS]
I oppose SSB 1065.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability.
01-22-2021
Katherine Leeper [Walnut Creek Campus]
This bill should not be passed. The money should be given to public schools specifically. Public school students are underserved as is. This bill is not a good use of the tax payers dollars. As an educator in the public school system I believe that the money could be distributed in a much more responsible manner that benefits the needs of ALL students, not just the lucky 10,000. I have seen how the misuse and abuse of vouchers causes detriment to public funding in other states. What I have witnessed is that charter and private schools accept these students for the voucher reward and after the funds are dispersed to said school....the private school kicks those students out and keep the funds leaving the public schools to adopt the student and the money from the voucher does not follow! It is criminal. Do not let this legislation pass! If equity and quality are an important part of the process then clearly this bill is bias as it does not considered the hundreds of thousands of students that will not receive the tax payers dollars for their public education they so rightfully deserve.
01-22-2021
Warren Varley []
Opposed.Strong public schools are essential to economic development and the future of our state as well as the specific benefits to the students and their families. This bill would seriously erode that by placing private profit over student wellbeing. It would create a two tier education system and with that a banana republic society
01-22-2021
Nick Hegarty [IA]
I have never understood how the state can spend tax dollars allocated to the education of my child if I choose not to send my child to public school. I should have the right to direct the tax dollars paid to educate my child to the school that actually educates my child. Let the taxpayers choose. And let the schools be accountable to the people.
01-22-2021
Vicky Brenner []
As a retired public school teacher of 34 years, I am strongly opposed to this bill. Public dollars are for public schools. This bill will take much needed funding away from our public schools, especially in rural areas. In addition, private schools are not held to the same standards of accountability as our public schools & they can discriminate based on a number of reasons. Iowa tax dollars already contribute to private & home schooling. Rather than funneling money away from our public schools, we should be looking at increased funding, especially during this pandemic.
01-22-2021
Vickie Parton []
Please vote NO to such a ridiculous, insulting bill. Taxpayers pay to support public education not someones private choice. Shame on you for even considering such a concept.
01-22-2021
David Munson []
A strong public school system is necessary to have an educated populace. An educated populace is the backbone of democracy. To divert public money to private schools will only serve to harm public education and will not benefit the state. Iowa used to be proud of its educational system, but sadly our prominence has been eroded over the past several years. Vouchers are the wrong way to go to strengthen education in Iowa. If you cannot adequately fund public schools, there should be no state money to pay for private schools. Actually, there should never be public money to pay for private schools.
01-22-2021
David Munson []
A strong public school system is necessary to have an educated populace. An educated populace is the backbone of democracy. To divert public money to private schools will only serve to harm public education and will not benefit the state. Iowa used to be proud of its educational system, but sadly our prominence has been eroded over the past several years. Vouchers are the wrong way to go to strengthen education in Iowa. If you cannot adequately fund public schools, there should be no state money to pay for private schools. Actually, there should never be public money to pay for private schools.
01-22-2021
Katharina Albrecht []
Please do not pass ANY voucher bills. They will destroy public schools.
01-22-2021
Tim Biederman []
As a proud tax payer, I support Iowa's PUBLIC schools. I do not want my tax dollars diverted to private schools. You do not get to under fund public schools and then give it to private schools.
01-22-2021
Jason Snell []
I oppose the voucher system. Keeping our public education system well funded is the best ROI (return on investments) for the money spent. Iowa historically has had one of the best public education systems in the nation. Lets keep it that way.
01-22-2021
Devon Murphy-Petersen []
Strong public schools have long been a defining Iowa value. Unfortunately, our public schools are under increasing pressure. Costs are rising while school revenues have remained flat or are declining. Public funds should ONLY support public schools.
01-22-2021
Cathy Tiernan []
I want my tax money to be used for the public schools my grandkids go to. Using a voucher system will take my tax money away from public schools and give to the privileged private schools instead. They don't need my money...if they can afford to send their kids to private school they need to pay for it themselves. I do not want this bill to pass!
01-22-2021
Ross Grooters [Pleasant Hill City Council ]
Vote No. Fund public education. This bill is an attack on education and educators. Creating tax loopholes will increase costs. Vouchers do not help create a better education system and nationally have led to poorer education outcomes for students. Using public funds to subsidize religious schools violates the separation of church and state.
01-22-2021
Susan Walsh []
I am opposed to SSB 1065. Public tax dollars are for public schools. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination. Diverting taxpayer monies to schools which are not held to the same antidiscrimination standard nor the same accounting capability is inappropriate.
01-22-2021
Krista Becker []
Hello,As your constituent, I am writing to ask you to vote no on SSB 1065, the Governor's 'Students First Scholarship' program. This bill will take away funds from our public schools, which need support now more than ever. The pandemic has highlighted how immensely our families and communities rely on our public schools. They have fed our children, attended to their mental health issues, and reinvented education to provide quality education and opportunities for all students regardless of race and religious background. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to serve ALL students like our public schools. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standards as public schools, requiring less accountability and transparency. Please vote no to this legislation and instead, come up with creative and effective solutions to help our public schools! Strong public school systems help families thrive and make our communities more desirable. I strongly believe that available resources should go to support ALL of our students. Thank you for listening and reconsidering.Krista Becker
01-22-2021
Kim Kietzman []
Taxes should be used to lift all Iowans up. If the belief is that schools need to do better, then taking money away simply shortchanges everyone else. Look for research based, well funded, and creative ways of improving education for all children. If I wanted to support a private school, I would donate to it.
01-22-2021
E. Eugene Stockton [Lead Pastor, Heartland Community Baptist Church]
It is imperative to pass IA SSB1065. More funding must flow to nonpublic schools and families through student scholarships, income tax exemptions, and modifications to tax credits. More affordabiilty and resources for non public schools is good for all of us.
01-22-2021
Breanna Owen []
Public dollars should stay with public schools. I oppose SSB 1065: Student First Scholarship Program. Calling it a scholarship doesnt change the fact that it is a voucher. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability.This would take away from public school budgets which are already NEVER fully funded.
01-22-2021
Lydia Holm [Blank Children’s Hospital ]
A strong public education system has always been one of Iowas strengths and was one reason I moved back home to ares Moines after having children. Count me among the many here opposed to a voucher program. Public money is for public schools.
01-22-2021
Pat Klingman []
Our rural students are no less important than urban students. Taking money from public schools to help fund private schools is going to hurt our rural schools and the students that attend those schools. We are struggling the way it is and to take money from us will mean that we won't be able to get decent teachers, associates, and other people who work in the schools. Without those the students suffer. The rural schools need text books and building upkeep just like urban schools. Moving money to private schools will take money again from our students. They deserve to attend school knowing they are safe and have update books (or computers ). The teachers need the help of the associates so they can be assured their students are getting the best education they can give them. SPreading the money thinner to give to private schools will most likely eliminate some of those much needed asst. and as a result lessen the students education. Private schools should NOT be funded through public funds. They don't have to follow the same expectations as far as goals, testing etc. as public schools.We in the rural areas also only have in which to educate our students. We give our students just as good an education as urban. Don't take the public money from our students and hurt your rural future.
01-22-2021
April Romans []
Public taxpayer funds should be used for public schools. Too many cuts are already decimating our districts as it is. Fund our schools and educate our future citizens.
01-22-2021
Michael Amano []
I think the short statement for me is, public tax money should go to public schools. This is going to take money away from public education, lowering the quality of education given which will draw more money away. Instead of offering families more ways to get out of public education, I think we should focus on ways to improve our public education system.Taking money away from public education, is a systemic example of indirectly oppressing people. Not only does it take money away, it's one extra step for families that may not have the understanding on how to use the new system.
01-22-2021
Michael Amano []
I think the short statement for me is, public tax money should go to public schools. This is going to take money away from public education, lowering the quality of education given which will draw more money away. Instead of offering families more ways to get out of public education, I think we should focus on ways to improve our public education system.Taking money away from public education, is a systemic example of indirectly oppressing people. Not only does it take money away, it's one extra step for families that may not have the understanding on how to use the new system.
01-22-2021
Julie Sexton [West Branch Community School District]
Dear Senate Education Committee: Please consider the following when discussing SSB 1065. Use public dollars for public schools. Period. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. The passing of this bill could mean a slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. Invest in Iowas public schools, which educate 94% of Iowa students. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings.More than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings according to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis.Vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.Sincerely,Julie SextonPresident, West Branch Board of Education
01-22-2021
Randy Richardson [Randy Richardson]
It's ironic that a Republican lawmaker would propose a bill to create a task force to determine why teachers are leaving the profession and why students aren't choosing to enter it at the same time this bill is attempting to dismantle much of the public education system. The voucher section of the bill has a potential cost of over $70 million while the Governor's proposal to fund public schools is only estimated to cost $20 million. If you want schools to succeed you need to fund them. The charter school proposal will pull students out of small, rural districts and will result in some closing their doors. Frankly I'm sick of Republicans campaigning that they support education when their actions show just the opposite. Defeat this bill.
01-22-2021
Bev Philpott []
I object strongly to my tax dollars being used to support religious schools. If parents wish to send their children to schools that provide an education that is biased they should be responsible for paying for it .Public education is just that public ie available to all. Any variation from that should not be paid for by public funding. The US Constitution requires separation of church and state. Public funding should not go to religious institutions.
01-22-2021
Mae McDonough []
I strongly oppose SSB 1065. Providing vouchers for private schools has proven repeatedly to be ineffective at promoting high quality education. Adequately funding public schools is the best way to support rural and urban Iowa communities. Iowa is a leader in providing great education despite years of inadequate funding. SSB 1065 is moving Iowa schools in the wrong direction. I dream about the kind of learning that could be accomplished in Iowa with wellfunded public schools rather than handouts to charters and private schools.
01-22-2021
Noreen Bush [Cedar Rapids Community School District ]
I strongly oppose SSB 1065. Public tax dollars should be used to fund public schools. And ONLY public schools. Unlike private schools, public schools provide a free education to ALL students, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. Unlike private schools, public schools must follow all guidelines established by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Individual with Disabilities Education Act. Unlike private schools, public schools must provide accountability and transparency to their community and to the State of Iowa. Private schools are not universally accessible by Iowa families. This legislation would benefit a few, at the expense of the many.Rather than diverting tax dollars to private entities, it is imperative to provide our public schools with the resources they need. This legislation does not address the needs of the majority of Iowa families. The establishment of charter schools also serves to reallocate resources away from serving ALL students to serving the few. Charter schools have little accountability to the public. Public education is the very entry point for ALL in our democracy...we welcome ALL, we serve ALL, and we advocate for ALL! Fund for ALL...not some. Respectfully submitted, Noreen Bush
01-22-2021
Jenny Pollard []
I oppose this bill and feel it will continue to create great inequities for our children to a quality education. Tax dollars should go to public education only and diversity plans should also be required. I would opt to pay more in taxes to support public education and diversity education for all staff and students.
01-22-2021
Mike Keller-Wilson []
I strongly oppose this bill. The state of Iowa (including the current governor) prides itself on supporting education and a long history of excellent schools. This bill would undermine education in Iowa and would have a particularly damaging effect on Iowa's rural schools. This bill is fiscally irresponsible and bad for schools, students, and communities.
01-22-2021
Haley Gibbons []
Iowa schools are under attack, and they have been for the past 4 years, since the state legislature stripped educators of their collective bargaining rights. This new proposal would intentionally weaken public schools, hurting the already economically vulnerable. School choice only benefits the wealthy and those families with the resources to transport students outside their district. It irresponsibly takes funds out of districts that desperately need them and moves them to places that dont need that additional funding or that have no obligation to teach ALL students, such as those with IEPs or other additional learning needs. I have personal experience in teaching in charter schools versus public schools, and charter schools are by far inferior to public schools. I plead with all legislators to vote against the provision and to consider the foundation of public schools in Iowa. If we want to rebuild our states reputation for strong schools, as well as create an educated workforce that will bolster our future economy, we need to vote down this provision.
01-22-2021
Tiffany Malcom []
Amy Sinclair, Herman Quirmbach, and Brad Zaun, Im writing you today to implore you all to deny the proposed legislation SSB 1065. I feel the disastrous effects this will have on all students will be felt for generations to come. My primary concern is that there is no research or evidence that students who choose to participate in the voucher program perform higher academically. Our primary concern as educators and legislators should be to maximize tax payer dollars on programs that most impact academic performance and with such limited funds to put dollars towards a program without empirical evidence would be a misstep. While an argument could be made that a positive of the voucher program would be the desegregation of private schools that we see today (both racially and socioeconomically), that is a systemic issue, not something that vouchers can solve alone. What is the goal with vouchers? Student and family choice? All schools should be 'created equal'. If they are not, then once again, what is the actual issue we need to solve? Is pouring money into vouchers going to solve the actual problem or place a band aid on the root of our educational issues? I believe that these dollars would be better suited to be used for more teachers, more teacher aides, better programs to train teachers, and driving to change the perspective toward educators. Class sizes of 30 is not conducive to students education. Vouchers dont solve ever growing class sizes. If we are going to spend money on education, put that money where it will benefit the most students and families: into the public schools that we already have today and desperately need our help
01-22-2021
Kelli Nuehring []
I am strongly opposed to this bill. Public education is at the heart of democracy. For a long time, Iowa has been able to pride itself on a strong public school system. Vouchers would undermine the public education system that offers quality education to all students. Our education system ranks higher than schools using a voucher system, why propose an action that would weaken our strong system? Please, if you care for the many many public school teachers (like me) and the students we serve, maintain the strength of our system and oppose this bill.
01-22-2021
Jessica Brown []
This bill masquerades as something to benefit all children. It may help a few, but at the expense of the many. Taking money out of school districts means that already strained budgets and overstretched teachers are forced to do even more with even less. We should be allocating more money to schools, not taking it away. If we want to allow a few lucky students to benefit from this influx of money, then there needs to be a plan in place to help all students succeed. Charter schools are a cover up for the legislature's failure to properly fund schools.
01-22-2021
Lisa Jones []
I disagree 100%. Parents who sent their kids to private schools obviously have money, so stop making Iowa taxpayers pay for private school students! Iowa taxpayers pay for students in public schools ONLY!
01-22-2021
Karen Stott []
Public funds are for public schools. My tax money should never go to a private school. Iowa already has school choice with open enrollment. Private schools that teach religion dont have to follow state rules or accept special needs students. Often those schools are not regulated by the state board of education. How unfair to give them public money.
01-22-2021
Molly Parrott []
Please vote NO on SSB 165. This would pull tax payer dollars from our once cherished public schools in Iowa. Tax dollars, provided by the public, should not be spent on private education. I cannot imagine the damage this bill would do to all school districts throughout the state, but it would be particularly disastrous for rural communities. And economic development companies and employees will not move to this state if we have poor public education. The brain drain is bad enough as it is. Enough of the attacks on public education, which used to be a point of pride in Iowa.
01-22-2021
Allyson Day []
I am in OPPOSITION to SSB 1065: Student First Scholarship Program for the following reasons:1) The pandemic made clear how very important our public schools are to society in general. Taking money from public schools is in direct opposition to this ideal.2) Public money is for public schools.3) The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Everyone needs to be given a chance to succeed. Good public schools offer this to all.4) The state of Iowa does NOT have the wealth to support a large number of private schools. A voucher bill will end up hurting private education and public education. And then education in Iowa will be terrible all around.
01-22-2021
Chris Jensen []
Please do not divert tax payers money to vouchers for private school. This is not the correct use of our money. Public schools are in need of the funding.
01-22-2021
Kathleen Johnson []
Before we think of funding scholarships to private schools, let's ensure our public schools have the funding they need. Many of these schools and teachers are operating with skeleton crews and minimal supplies as it is. Do NOT use our tax dollars for those that chose a private education. It is perfectly fine for someone to make that choice, but don't divert government funds to compensate those that choose that route. Tax dollars are for public institutions and the greater good of the community. Private schools can offer their own scholarships based on their own criteria or raise their own funds to supplement this option. Let's take care of these schools and kids that need this money more than subsidizing the private education of a select few that you are proposing.
01-22-2021
Rondella Rugg [Iowa Resident/Virtual Teacher/Worried Grandmother/Immunocompromised American]
Educational Funds should be used for PUBLIC SCHOOLS ONLY! As an Iowa Resident who lives in a VERY RURAL AREA, the ONLY Education that is Accessible within approximately 50100 Miles are PUBLIC SCHOOLS. I am currently raising 2 of my Grandchildren, who rely on Public School for their Education. PUBLIC SCHOOLS are NECESSARY for the Education of LowIncome and Rural Students in Iowa. THEY DESERVE An EQUALLY GOOD EDUCATION in Iowa!PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS Do NOT deserve to have their Education UNDERFUNDED or DEFUNDED to Provide Funding for Education in AFFLUENT Private Schools who have the ability to raise their Tuition if increased Funding is Needed. AFFLUENT Parents & Grandparents of Private and/or Charter School Students, who have Means and can Afford Private/Charter School Tuition, can Fund Their Ridiculously Expensive Schools with Their Own Funds, NOT my Tax Dollars!GIVE IOWA EDUCATION FUNDING TO THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN IOWA!
01-22-2021
Staci Mead []
I have two children with learning difficulties, which would make them not able to attend a private or religious school. The idea that my tax dollars would not go to support my own children and the children of others around them their peers, their teachers, the support staff that makes them feel good and accomplished is utterly appalling. This is a horrible bill and should not even be up for consideration. Taxes are for public schools and infrastructure, like it was intended when they were first created by the Republican Party. Too bad that party is long gone and we have partisan extremists who want to strip the public of opportunities. Vote no on this. Your state and constituents deserve better.
01-22-2021
Matt Oleson []
I do not support this bill. All for school choice but as long as our money is subject to oversight at same level of our public schools. That means if they accept funds must follow all same rules and be subject to all that govern public schools. Our taxes are to support public endeavors or lift those up who are in need. Diverting money to private schools does not fit either of these uses. Return your focus on how to serve the majority of our population.
01-22-2021
Gail Rieger []
Vote No, it will hurt public schools not help them!!
01-22-2021
Sally Schroeder []
As a former school board member of Clinton Community Schools, I have long been of the belief that taxpayer dollars should support public schools, not used for vouchers to attend private schools. Doing so will continue to erode our public education system.
01-22-2021
Cat McLaren []
I am writing to express my opposition to this bill. Public money belongs to the public schools. The schools are already massively underfunded. Please do not cut public school funding. My family depends on it. This bill is inherently racist, ableist, and classist.
01-22-2021
John Flanery []
Private schools save tax payers billions of dollars every year because every student that is in a private school means tax payers don't have to provide funding for that child's education. Providing ESA's to private schools is a wonderful idea to create competition as well. In the end if a school isn't doing their job or doing it as well as a private school, why wouldn't we want our children to have the opportunity to go to a private school and get ahead in life? No one should be afraid of competition as it raises both schools to a better place. Support ESA's and it won't hurt public schools either as they are overcrowded in our larger cities. Do the right thing and provide opportunity for school choice. Who doesn't want greater opportunities for our youth?
01-22-2021
Ann DeVault []
Please move this bill forward. As a PK8th grade teacher as well as mother of two elementaryaged children, I can speak the importance of strong schools for students, increases in textbook and tuition tax credits, and the importance of an educator expense deduction. Parents should be given support in finding a school that meets the needs of their children, whether that be public or private. I have taught at both public and private schools and can attest to their benefits for different children. The public school can be great for some students, but the wrong fit for other learners and the same can be said about private schools. My children have learning needs that would not be met in the very large public schools in my school district, which is why we have chosen to enroll them in a private school. Given the financial strains of the COVID19 pandemic and the derecho in my area of the state, I believe you also need to consider widening the voucher availability for struggling families to use to keep their children enrolled in private schools.
01-22-2021
Samantha Beeman [I]
This robs money from our public schools. If parents want to send their kids to private schools they can pay for it. We should be actually funding our schools and teachers rather than paying for profit schools. This is hurting our future. DO NOT approve this bill.
01-22-2021
A M [School worker ]
Please leave well enough alone. The money needed for public schools is never enough but what we do have is what we need. Just keep it where it is.
01-22-2021
Austin Meeks []
Vouchers have no place in Iowa for schools that can restrict enrollment based on a number of factors. Public money should be used for public schools. As an educator, parent and taxpayer I find this bill incredibly inappropriate.This would be an incredible blow to public schools and as a result, our community. .
01-22-2021
Kristine Dreckman []
I strongly oppose this bill. Taxpayer funds are to be used for public education and not private schools.
01-22-2021
Steve Pond []
Good evening. I am a 22 year teacher in WDM schools. As a public school teacher, I am strongly opposed to a voucher system or anything where public money is used to help pay for families to attend private school. My son attends a private school, not due to a concern about public school quality but religous education reasons. We could not receive private tuition assistance. Some families at this school do receive financial assistance, but not from public money. The two systems need to be kept separate. While families can, and do have choice, families need to do so based on their financial ability to pay or apply for that private financial assistance, as I had done. Do not give up on public education by helping pay these families way into private education with public money. Public education is a foundation of our society and needs to be supported. Reducing funding and any sort of voucher system is not benefitting what has been a strong public educaiton system in Iowa. If there are concerns about the status of our public education system, all stakeholders need to meet to find ways to make sure the public education system is as strong as possiblethat starts in the home. Parents/guardians need to provide better support of their own child's education. As a teacher, I can assure you we are doing everything we can to meet the needs of all students. Private schools do not have that same level of accountability and transparency for how the money is used, what academic results are and such. We won't know what kind of return on investment there is in helping pay for kids to go to private schools. Please don't make our job more difficult by dangling this public money out there to families. That money needs to be used to support public schools. Thank you.
01-22-2021
Jeff Smith []
This is not a good bill for many reasons. This bill will hurt our performance compared to other state, will hurt rural schools, and will take money out of public schools.
01-22-2021
Crystal Sue Brugman [Betty the Genius, LLC]
Vouchers do not strength communities or educational outcomes. Iowa has always been a leader in education but this program would send us in the wrong direction. A rising tide should raise all boats. A voucher system would punch holes in the bottom of the boats. Voucher systems are short sighted and bad for Iowa.
01-22-2021
Megan Colgan []
I do not support this bill. Vouchers create more inequities in both rural and urban schools. We need to fund our schools, pay and retain staff, and regain our reputation as a envied educational system if we want our state to keep businesses and people here.
01-22-2021
Laura Wright []
Please support this bill. My children have attended public schools, and currently attend private school. We have been so greatly blessed in many ways by their current private school. Our children are thriving and succeeding far beyond the level they were at public school where there are too many kids to know them all individually. Make the right to choose your child's school easier and more fair to all parents. Our society is driven by a competitive market. Public schools will need to strive for higher standards to compete against private schools. I fully support this bill and hope you will as well.
01-22-2021
Kelly Frett []
I strongly oppose this bill. We should be investing in our public schools, particularly those in economically vulnerable areas, to ensure all students have access to a top education. Voucher programs haven't resulted in any benefit to students in other parts of the country. Once again, a bill is being proposed that will have Iowa racing to the bottom nationally.
01-22-2021
Amber Ferriss []
Public schools reach about 94% of Iowa children, and provide a quality education to all kids regardless of color, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. I need my tax dollars to support my child who has a disability and is accepted. SSB 1065 IS NOT THE WAY TO GO, bills like these are why teachers are leaving the profession!! Let parents chose, but let them pay for that choice. Public dollars go public schools, private money, private schools!
01-22-2021
Staci Mangrich []
I am strongly against this bill. Public dollars are for public education where ALL students are served and taught.
01-22-2021
Chris Johnson []
I grew up in Iowa, then lived in several other states for many years. We came back to Iowa for two important reasons: family, and good public schools. If the legislature and governor decide to move forward with this, it will further damage Iowas public schools, and we will have to consider leaving. Our extended family can also leave, and what else is there to stay for? Dirty water and substandard wages?
01-22-2021
Lori Jorgensen []
Public funds for public schools. Vouchers will desimate our public schools.
01-22-2021
Dana Anderson []
I do not support diverting money for public schools elsewhere. As a parent of individuals who have benefitted from public schools as well as part of a family that were teachers and administers it saddens me to even see this remotely being considered. Please do not move forward with this!
01-23-2021
Bryan Balduf []
Will yall just please fund the public schools? I am a proud product of Iowa public schools and I want my kids to grow up with the same experience thanks.
01-23-2021
Kristin Maahs [West Des Moines Schools]
I oppose SSB 1065. This bill defunds public schools by allowing vouchers tor non public schools. The funds are public money for public institutions and should not be used for the any other private non public establishments. This is a terrible bill and should not be passed!
01-23-2021
Lexa Krug []
Fund Iowa's public schools, instead. The children of Iowa deserve equal access to quality education. Invest in the infrastructure of public schools.
01-23-2021
Susan Corbin-Muir []
Tax dollars should go to public schools. Please refocus your efforts on the pressing issues of today. Get a plan for vaccinating all Iowan. Get relief into those who are suffering from unemployment due to the pandemic.
01-23-2021
Jeanette Bodermann []
I so strongly believe in our public education system in Iowa and it is under attack. I do not believe vouchers or tax money for private education is the way to go.I do NOT agree with the SB1065 bill in the Iowa Legislature. The way they are proposing vouchers, using our tax dollars to funnel money away from public education into private is, imho, an example of systemic racism. Private schools do not have to accept children for any reason they please, and they regularly deny the disabled or 'troubled' (read: poor and of color). The bill proposes that the district in which the charter exists must pay education dollars to the charter! Further, aspects of this bill will require the end of voluntary diversity plans which help prevent white flight from districts with diverse populations.
01-23-2021
Ann Van Treeck []
Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. I fully support choice. However, it is not just to fund choice with tax payer dollars. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used. It is irresponsible to allocate taxpayer money without accountability.Why would you use taxpayer dollars to fund education when the private institutions are not held accountable to the same transparency of funds?
01-23-2021
Dan Whitaker []
I am strongly opposed to using public dollars for a voucher system to benefit private schools. Our state has continued to slash funding to public schools over the last 4 years. We need to return to investing in all of our communities and children by expanding funding for the public school system.
01-23-2021
Micah Gearhart []
Thank you for all of your work during the legislative sessions. As I read through this proposed bill, I would like the committee to consider not moving this forward. I didn't see accountability for this funding for private schools (currently accountability is different for public schools and private schools). I believe in our public system and its ability to educate all students (IEPs, behavioral students, etc). Currently in the state, this responsibility remains on the public sector and not the private sector (i.e. IEP students are either turned away as they don't offer those services or the public school provides the learning support). I'm concerned that while well intentioned, a selection process will still remain for private schools. In reading a few reports from Florida, many private schools raised their rates to receive both public dollars and require private payment also. Reading through the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project Analysis, the state already allocates more than $65 million in state tax dollars for homeschool and private school. Vouchers create a rural concern as it has the potential to shift money to urban areas.
01-23-2021
Noah Ruppert []
Please approve this bill and show your support to nonpublic schools. Private school has been so foundational to our lives. Supporting this bill is recognizing a population of children who are thriving and will be future leaders, alongside their peers in public schools, all of equal value, of this community.
01-23-2021
Tami Prescott [--None--]
I am in OPPOSITION to SSB 1065: Student First Scholarship Program for the following reasons:1) The pandemic made it clear how very important our public schools are to society in general. Taking money from public schools is in direct opposition to this ideal.2) Public money is for public schools.3) Public money should not be used for private options. This is not right, nor fair.4) There is no accountability nor transparency in use of these funds.
01-23-2021
Rae Anne Havig []
To the members of the Education Committee: Please do not vote to give public money to private schools through vouchers. Public money should only be used for public schools. Our socioeconomic divides are already quite evident in our state. Do not sacrifice education for the majority for education of the few.
01-23-2021
Jennifer Harper-Mendenhall []
I believe Student First Scholarships are the wrong public policy for Iowa and an inappropriate use of public tax dollars for many reasons.To begin with, I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds. Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. In addition, Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. Schools are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.Finally, this bill is the beginning of a slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.
01-23-2021
Jeannie Krambeer []
Public funding should be for public schools. Our children deserve the best public education possible. You are crippling my daughters opportunities by stealing from public schools to fuel schools, and now individuals, that are not even held to similar educational standards as public schools. Please say no to vouchers or whatever creative name they are bing called now.
01-23-2021
Katie Brown []
I am a public school teacher with kids in the public school. I was raised Catholic, attended Catholic elementary school, and baptized my kids in the Catholic Church. If we wanted our kids to have a private education, we would expect to pay for that education.Please dont pass legislation that takes funding away from public schools. As a tax payer, its not right that a portion of my taxes may be taken away from the public schools. Especially if I lived in an underprivileged area where the public schools are already struggling immensely.
01-23-2021
Caitie McCleary []
Public tax dollars should be used for public schools. Period.
01-23-2021
Shannon Gausman []
I am strongly AGAINST this proposal. Public schools in Iowa, once one of our proudest attributes as a state, are severely underfunded and this proposal would only funnel more money away from schools that desperately need funding.
01-23-2021
Claire Vander Wiel []
I am writing in opposition to SSB1065. The voucher system would do so much damage to our public schools, especially rural schools and those that serve disadvantaged communities. We already see the effects of low funding in our public schools. Public schools must serve all students, compared to private schools which do not have to accommodate.
01-23-2021
Mary Helfter [Retired Educator]
I am opposed to this bill. If funds are available then they should be used to increase support to our public schools. The decades of underfunding public education in Iowa has got to stop.
01-23-2021
Wendy Turner []
We need to fortify our support for our teachers and the education of our youth based on facts. Public funds need to be spent on public schools only. Oppose!!!
01-23-2021
Diane Storey []
I strongly oppose SSB 1065. Our nation has prospered with a publicly funded school system. I DO NOT want my tax dollars to fund private schools in any way, including school vouchers, tax credits, or in any way. More public resources should go to schools that NEED a hand up; NOT to the wealthy and connected. When we all prosper, we all prosper.
01-23-2021
Kristina Bigsby []
As a citizen of Iowa, a product of its public education system, and public servant within that system, I oppose SSB 1065.
01-23-2021
Brittinae Nelson []
Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings. Do not allow this bill to continue on!
01-23-2021
Wendy Liskey []
Members of the Senate Committee, Your public education institutions need public tax dollars now more than ever. Please do not advance any legislation that reduces the amount of funding for public schools by redirecting any part of it to benefit a very small portion of the state's PK12 students.The additional money our schools have had to spend to provide the safest learning environment during a global pandemic has been immense. The recent federal funding was allocated unfairly so please do not assume that is filling the gaps for many districts. That would be a false assumption and I would encourage you to speak with any school Superintendent in this state to get a very real picture of what damage this pandemic has had on already underfunded school finances.Respectfully submitted,Wendy Liskey Waukee CSD School Board Member
01-23-2021
Kimberly Windergerst [West Des Moines Community Schools]
I oppose this action. Public funds should be used for public schools.
01-23-2021
Brenda Huebsch [Osage Community ]
I support Iowa public schools. As a taxpayer I don't feel that my tax dollars should be allocated to private schools.
01-23-2021
Lori Fredrickson []
I am AGAINST any school voucher program. All money for education should be used for all students in the State of Ia. Staff is not paid enough now. Especially ones that work with at risk or special needs. My daughter has a 4 year degree and makes $11 an hour. Ridiculous!!!!! Fix THIS
01-23-2021
Steve Weitz []
I am in support of this bill. To me it is not a case of taking anything away from Public School Systems, but rather to let people use their tax dollars for their family's education. If you choose to use your tax dollars for public education you simply do nothing, the dollars go to the school you attend. If you choose to go to private school you can use your tax dollars for this. I do not support anything that takes funding away from any school, so I also encourage adequate funding goes to public schools from Kindergarten through College. If these requires more tax revenue from people going to both public and private school then I hope everyone can support that.
01-23-2021
Jennifer Schumann []
I am writing in opposition to this bil. Public dollars belong to PUBLIC schools. A public school is available for all residents. If they choose not to attend, then they need to fund their personal choice with their own dollars not taxpayers' dollars. Schools are underfunded as it is now. Directing additional dollars away from public schools will be devastating to our state especially to smaller school districts. Please end this bill NOW!
01-23-2021
Kris Reed []
Members of the Senate Committee, Your public education institutions need public tax dollars now more than ever. Please do not advance any legislation that reduces the amount of funding for public schools by redirecting any part of it to benefit a very small portion of the state's PK12 students.The additional money our schools have had to spend to provide the safest learning environment during a global pandemic has been immense. The recent federal funding was allocated unfairly so please do not assume that is filling the gaps for many districts. That would be a false assumption and I would encourage you to speak with any school Superintendent in this state to get a very real picture of what damage this pandemic has had on already underfunded school finances.Respectfully submitted,Kris ReeedWaukee parent
01-23-2021
Micah Benes []
I am writing to express my disagreement with SSB 1065. Public dollars should stay with public schools. A large contributing factor to a schools performance is funding. It is no surprise then to see the correlation between lack of funding and lower performance. This bill stands to further separate (read segregate) students in Iowa.
01-23-2021
ElsaAdele McDowell []
i am against using ANY publc funds to support private schools. Parents should have 'school choice' but public funds are for public schools ONLY.
01-23-2021
Claire Krause []
To Whom It May Concern:I am writing in opposition of SSB 1065 legislation to provide vouchers for students. As a parent, public school educator, and taxpaying citizen this is very alarming that students may take tax dollars allocated for public schools and go to a private institution. As a mother I think parents should have as many choices as possible in terms of education that best fits their child's needs. However, to use funds that need to support public education is a travesty. Public education for some time has been under attack. How are educators supposed to provide a wellrounded education to diverse student needs without the means to do so? Educators are constantly having to battle budget cuts, resource reallocation, and rising teacherstudent ratio. All of which go against best practice to our children. I ask that you oppose this piece of legislation so that all children, regardless of zipcode, have access to highquality and free education.Thank you,Claire Krause
01-23-2021
Dixie Wielenga []
Please support SB 1065. Giving parents the power to choose the education for their children is so important. Open Enrollment, increasing the tuition and textbook tax credit, and ESAs are all parts to give parents the power to meet their childrens' needs. Thank you for your consideration
01-23-2021
Valarie Berge []
Please vote NO on this!! I strongly apples this bill!!
01-23-2021
Brenda Schumann []
Our public schools cannot succeed when they are not adequately funded which has been the case the past few years. Public funds should go to public schools not private schools. A democracy is based on an educated public and that happens when we have good public schools. The pandemic has drastically increased costs for schools. Please do not divert tax dollars to religious and private schools.
01-23-2021
Robby Wild [6th grader at Dmps]
I am a student in the DMPS schools. I am sure my comment will get glanced over because I am a kid. I ask you to consider us students who risk having programs cut from bills. Programs that keep kids out of trouble. Yes, I read the bill and I am scared and disgusted my own education is at risk under this bill. My public education is important and my parents chose to put me in public because they publicly pay taxes not to private schools where alot of us would be denied access if we have IEPs ect.
01-23-2021
Chelsea Sims []
Like most Iowans, I oppose this bill and any form of vouchers. These "scholarships" WILL take away funding from public schools. "School choice" WILL lead to white flight and further segregation of our already segregated schools. "Open enrollment" WILL lead rural schools to crumble and schools with strong sports programs to discriminate against students who aren't athletes. Private and religious schools already exist and already have plenty of customers. The only Iowans in this public forum who support this bill already have kids in private school they seem to be making it work without help from the government.Use our taxpayer dollars to fully fund public schools and let the private corporations and religious groups use their tax exemptions to provide scholarships instead.
01-23-2021
Cody Howell []
Please do not pass SSB 1065. Our public education system needs more support now than ever. Iowas public education system needs support from our elected leaders and should be your top priority. This bill hurts public education and hurts our children.
01-23-2021
Kristin Broberg []
Members of the Senate Committee, Your public education institutions need public tax dollars now more than ever. Please do not advance any legislation that reduces the amount of funding for public schools by redirecting any part of it to benefit a very small portion of the state's PK12 students.The additional money our schools have had to spend to provide the safest learning environment during a global pandemic has been immense. The recent federal funding was allocated unfairly so please do not assume that is filling the gaps for many districts. That would be a false assumption and I would encourage you to speak with any school Superintendent in this state to get a very real picture of what damage this pandemic has had on already underfunded school finances.Respectfully submitted,Kristin
01-23-2021
Brent Antisdel []
No, just NO.
01-23-2021
Shelly Silver []
SSB 1065 is a harmful voucher and charter school bill that would be devastating to our public school students. I agree with all the previous comments that oppose this bill. Invest in PUBLIC schools. One is free to send their child to a private school, but they should pay for that out of their own pocket. Here's a link to a video to show how school "choice" affects rural schools. Please watch the 30 minute video on how a similar bill affected Arizona. While you're at it, restore Collective Bargaining. Teachers no longer have a seat at the table with the state regarding things that matter to them. If we treat them that way, how can we expect to retain good teachers much less attract them to join the profession here? We used to rank high in our education nationwide, I think this will slide if it hasn't already. It's upsetting that Republicans continue to listen to outside voices instead of Iowans and what they deem to be important.https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=699989217339261&ref=watchpermalinkThank you.
01-23-2021
Rebecca Bell [East Mills Director]
Dear Subcommittee:Iowa public schools are already struggling due to tough economics of farm and industry. Iowa needs jobs to attract people to our state and that brings children also. Spending $3 Million on jobs would do far more for our education system than a voucher. We graduate brilliant kids and they go to other states for jobs. This may seem off the subject but it is one of the big underlying problems of our struggling schools. It takes money for programs and children to attend our public schools. Intelligent kids in our system challenge and raise the "grade" of all students they interact with. Open Enrollment hurts our small school districts too especially if they are near a bigger city. Vouchers will hurt much the same and seem unessary as shown in the map, private schools are not equally spaced throughout the state. Use public dollars for public schools. Period. LET'S MAKE IOWA PUBLIC SCHOOLS Number #1 again in the nation! Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board, are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same public standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used, but are left in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program: This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools. RegardsRebecca BellEast Mills Director
01-23-2021
Chris Boesch []
As a parent of two children in private school, and two more who will be in the coming years, I am seeing more and more the importance of equality in education as far as funding and incentives. The freedom should be left up to the parent in where they would like to send their children without having to worry about having to pay for education twice through taxes and tuition when sending their children to private school. Public and private schools can absolutely exist together without one side being favored with tax incentives and provisions and where the decision is left up to the parent on the best fit for their child. Thank you for your work on this! Chris Boesch
01-23-2021
Patricia Benson []
Public schools have been a predominate feature of our nation. Education is a fundamental right of our citizens. MORE money should be designated for public schools to provide all the services expected of them, as has been pointed out in the recent pandemic. Schools are also in need of supplemental funds to support &/or replace funds used for health & safety during the pandemic. I do NOT want my taxpayer money funding schools that can legally discriminate based on disability, gender identity, sexuality, religious preferences or economic status. We are seeing how prevalent racial/social discrimination still is in our nation. Actions like SSB 1065 will add to this discrimination and will detrimental impact our public schools. Another impact is that some of our valued teachers and school personnel may begin to search out of state for employment so as to work in places that put a high value on education,like Iowa used to do. Please vote no on this proposed bill.
01-23-2021
Julianne Jaksich []
I am writing to request you oppose SSB 1065. Tax payer dollars should be reserved for public service. Individuals who choose to utilize private schools should selffund that choice. Tax dollars funding private schools will only serve to reduce public funding and degrade our current level of public education for Iowa students. Iowa would join the ranks of the likes of Chicago. Nothing to be proud of. Thanks you for opposing SSB 1065.Sincerely,Julianne Jaksich
01-23-2021
Ben Maher-Jacobson []
If my tax dollars are going to help fund private schools, I expect their books to be open to the public. I want to be able to attend their board meetings and have input like any other stakeholder. I want them to have the same hiring standards as public schools and I want them to pay their teachers a living wage. I want them to use an approved curriculum that emphasizes facts and science over religious dogma and a draconian, puritanical interpretation of moral behavior. Thats like the bare minimum level of transparency we demand from any other publicly funded entity. Anything less is absolutely unacceptable.
01-23-2021
Christa Miehe []
State tax dollars have no place subsidizing nonpublic education. Not via vouchers, not via income tax incentives. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same education standards as public schools, do not have to admit every student who wants to attend, and as such should never receive tax payer dollars. Iowas public education system is an asset to our state, I urge you not to erode the foundations of the system by diverting funds to unworthy organizations.
01-23-2021
Marsha Mezger []
Issuance of vouchers for tax benefits would negatively impact the critical need of equitable educational opportunities within the State of Iowa. Approval of such a decision would further the gap between the already underserved students in our state. Public Education is our state's greatest tool for providing all learners an opportunity to reach their highest potential; the front line of student connectivity, engagement, and growth, often filling gaps that families may be unable to independently fill. Any suggestion to redirect funds from our most vulnerable learners will not only produce negative outcomes in the short term in public school budgets related to funding, but also as a result of the elimination and/or under funding of necessary services that will equip a child to move out of an often perpetuating dependence on public services. Please do not enable such a destructive action.
01-23-2021
Elizabeth Lundberg []
I am strongly opposed to the use of vouchers to funnel public funds to private schools. Public money should go to public education. It's more cost effective, and more importantly, it serves everyone in our state.
01-23-2021
Ruth Benes []
I am writing to express my disappointment in this proposal. I dont see any reason to provide funding to individuals or families pulling children from public schools. Public funding needs to stay with public schools. Public schools were established to provide superb education to our children and Iowa should continue to take pride in their public schools. versus pulling resources from them. . Please do not allow this to move forward.
01-23-2021
Sylvia Enyart []
As a taxpayer, I oppose this bill as we should fund our PUBLIC school system, not pretend we are giving folks choice only to try to take money away from public school systems.
01-23-2021
Carol Kramer [West Des Moines Community Schools]
I am in OPPOSITION to SSB 1065:Student First Scholarship Program for the following reasons:1) The pandemic made clear how important our public schools are to our communities. Taking money from public schools is in direct opposition to this need.2) Public money is for public schools3) Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Private and religious schools are not held to this same standard.
01-23-2021
Michelle Holtz []
Members of the Senate Committee, Your public education institutions need public tax dollars now more than ever. Please do not advance any legislation that reduces the amount of funding for public schools by redirecting any part of it to benefit a very small portion of the state's PK12 students.The additional money our schools have had to spend to provide the safest learning environment during a global pandemic has been immense. The recent federal funding was allocated unfairly so please do not assume that is filling the gaps for many districts. That would be a false assumption and I would encourage you to speak with any school Superintendent in this state to get a very real picture of what damage this pandemic has had on already underfunded school !
01-23-2021
Ryan Cunningham [Okoboji School District]
I am sincerely thankful for your service to our state as you work to lead our government into the future. I am writing to express my opposition to the student first scholarship fund aspect of SSB 1065. As a 20year educator, with 4 students in the K12 system, and as a devoted school leader who works tirelessly to expand and strengthen deeper, powerful learning pathways for all students, I believe the level of accountability and flexibility proposed around the student first scholarships in this bill are woefully inappropriate and will end up doing more harm than good to the longterm learning trajectory of students in our state. Personally, I am a conservative who sees the value of equitable governance that allows for student and family choice in learning. However, there are significant holes in the equitable choice components proposed in SSB 1065 around student first scholarship funds. It is with a sincere heart that I ask you to reject the student first scholarship fund aspect of SSB 1065.
01-23-2021
Gary Bowen []
I echo Mr. Lex Jacobsons succinct comments of 1/21/2021. A longwinded argument is not necessary. His comments wrapped up all arguments against the proposal.
01-23-2021
Melissa Ramsey []
I do not support this. If a parent wishes their child to attend private school that is not a burden we should place on tax payers. A strong public school system creates countless learning opportunities beyond what they learn in the classroom to help prepare students for life after school. Public dollars are for public schools. Potentially causing public dollars to be applied to religious schooling feels like a line crossed between church and state.
01-23-2021
Deshonta Adams []
As your you constituent I am watching and I hope you vote NO. This bill makes me want to move out to another state. NO NO NO.
01-23-2021
Rebecca Clemens []
As a parent of 2 children I DO NOT support a school voucher program. I pay my taxes to support my school district and that is where I expect them to stay. If schools are failing then the state needs to be stepping in to provide oversight. Letting parents send their kids elsewhere doesnt fix the root cause of the problem!
01-23-2021
Elizabeth Schroeder []
Public education/schools need much more funding than has been provided. Tax dollars are meant to be used for the good of all, not for the betterment of an individual. Iowa needs to make public education a top priority. Allowing public funds to be utilized for private needs does not improve education offered in this state. This will actually do the opposite. Public schools again will be forced to do more with less. Funds must stay with the public schools. Make initiatives to add funding to provide technology to public schools that dont have it. Make initiatives to focus on literacy in public schools and get books in the hands of all students. Make initiatives to pay teachers more to be sure our quality teachers stay in education and also gives public schools ability to reduce class sizes to provide more one on one personalized education. Vouchers are not the answer. Vouchers will hurt the education of students in Iowa & the future of education in public schools.
01-23-2021
Brent Hoesing []
This bill only serves to increase costs across the board unless funding to public school districts is lowered. I've supported a balanced budget, and in order to continue to balance the budget, there is no way to add costs to a voucher system without pulling the money from somewhere, particularly Public Education. When the state (we) start paying students to attend NonPublic schools, that pulls money from the school district they were attending. This hurts public education funding. When the state starts paying those already attending Private schools, they will need to make up that money from somewhere, and it will come from Public Schools. I'm a budget guy, and a fiscal conservative, and I know that when the state has a budget of "X" and we try to add another line item that the money has to come from somewhere that is within that budget of "X". That money will come from Public School funding.Additionally, this bill serves only to increase the disparity between public and private school districts. Public and Private school districts are constantly compared to each other, and the outcome tends to be that Private schools are looked to be more successful because their scores are higher. The reality is that Private school scores are higher because they have a completely different student population than Public Schools. They serve very few students with behaviors, very few special education students, and very few students who come from poverty. They deal with less behaviors that distract from their school work, and have no mandates to incorporate into their school day. What they do have is the same curriculum and the same teachers who come from the same universities and colleges. They get to simply teach. Public Schools have become the parent, and are responsible for feeding, clothing, teaching life skills, providing mental/emotional health support, and still teach at a high level, and we do this with a smile as we know it's what our students need. By providing money to students to attend a private school, you are furthering the disparity between public and private schools. Private schools will still not be required to adhere to the same set of standards and expectations that Public schools have to follow. They will still be able to accept or deny students based on their qualifications or ability to serve. Students who struggle in school, have behavior disorders, or learning disabilities will still be denied. Private schools will not have to follow the costly rules, regulations, and mandates that Public schools have to on a daily basis. Essentially, Private schools will receive money with no strings attached, and Public schools will have to "earn" their money by following all the legislative requirements. This system will encourage the transfer of high performers to Private schools and will discriminate against low performing students or those with behavior or learning disorders. The disparity will continue to grow as the number of high performers are "accepted" into Private schools, along with their allocated taxpayer dollars. Private school scores will rise while Public schools fall as their high performers move to another district. At the end of the day, the goal of stateprovided education should be to create a level playing field and provide opportunities for ALL students. When you fund public schools, ALL students have an opportunity to obtain the same education. Public schools can't discriminate by who they serve and they are regulated by the state to adhere to the same standards and expectations. Private schools can and do discriminate by serving only those who qualify for their programming. They do not have to adhere to the rules, expectations, and mandates that are required by Public schools. By funding schools who discriminate against students by not accepting ALL students, the state (and the people of this state) are not providing a level playing field for ALL students.Other parts of this bill are also very discouraging to Public schools and their employees. By eliminating Open Enrollment rules, it's creating a costly freeforall for Iowa school employees to have to manage. Allowing Private school students to carry money over to be used for postsecondary education discriminates against Public school students who won't have that option and encourages them to pursue private education in order to have the same opportunity. Sadly, many of them won't be accepted to those schools and still won't have that option. As legislators, you have taken an oath to serve the people of the great State of Iowa. 94% of students in this great state attend Public Schools. Unless this bill has the potential to improve education for all 100% of these students, it would not appear to be serving the needs of the people of Iowa. For many school districts who answered the call and have served students facetoface as requested by Governor Reynolds since August 14, 2020, this whole bill is dispiriting. It's no secret that she is upset with the large districts who refused to go back to school. We all are. However, the timing of this bill comes off as retribution for their decision and negatively affects those of us who have been in school fulltime. I've supported Governor Reynolds throughout this pandemic, however, as Iowans, we cannot support this bill.
01-23-2021
Jenny Saylor [ICCSD]
Iowa tax payer money should not be used to fund private and/or religious schools. Private and religious schools are exempt from oversight and able to discriminate against students as they choose. Public schools accept and educate all students not just the students they choose to accept. Every dollar diverted from our public school system further erodes a system that has been chronically underfunded and burdened with continuously increasing expectations, requirements, and expenses.
01-23-2021
Daniel Barr []
I am writing in opposition to SB1065. Tax revenue, also known as public funding should be spent solely on public goods. This bill represents another in a long line of attacks by the majority party on education leading to the insidious goal of an under/uninformed electorate. Nothing in this bill reflects any desires of this constituent.
01-23-2021
Ruth Sereg []
I am writing to communicate my support of SSB1065. It will help families to choose an appropriate education for their children. Assist those institutions that are effectively making a difference, especially in the lives of our children. Our children are our future, we should be able to decide whether or not to send our children to a private or a public school district. I am also a taxpayer, I also chose to send my child to a private school. It has been a struggle, this bill would allow an opportunity for our children in their choice for their future, hopefully you all will consider approving to pass this bill.All children deserve the right to go to whatever school they choose and not making the private education so unaffordable. Thank you Ruth S.
01-23-2021
Amanda DeSalvo []
Public funds should go to public schools. Period. A strong public education system is vital for every other part of our state.
01-23-2021
Megan Knight []
Public funding should go to public schools. Stop attacking Iowa's public school system, from preK through graduate education! SSB 1065 is unacceptable, period.
01-23-2021
Brenda Boots []
I oppose this Student First Scholarship that is attempting to be passed. It is taking public funds away from the public schools and giving it to the private schools. Private schools who do not have services for students with special needs. That is causing an unwanted segregation of classes of students. It will separate race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. It should not be supported!
01-23-2021
Jacob Lemons []
School choice vouchers are NOT an effective use of Iowa taxpayer money. This will pull money away from public and rural schools and further erode the quality of education that these schools are able to provide. There are tens of thousands of students in the state that have no options to even use this vouchermeaning the vouchers will benefit the priviliged at the expense of everyone else. All of the states that have implemented school vouchers currently rank towards the bottom half in national education rankings, so why are we looking at them as models? All the voucher system will do is further degrade the public school system and widen the education quality gap between wealthy suburban families and everyone else (urban, rural, etc). Whatever happened to supporting Iowa's farming communities? This certainly won't help them.
01-23-2021
Christie Wicks [West Des Moines Community Schools]
Senators,The State of Iowa has been known nationally for outstanding PUBLIC schools for decades. Families move to Iowa to enroll their children in the excellent public schools, which only strengthens our local economy and attracts talent to the State of Iowa. Why would we not want to continue that?Sadly, bills such as SSB 1065 are terrible for our public schools. Public money should be used for PUBLIC SCHOOLS ONLY. Vouchers will not only draw money away from our public schools, but they will also create elitism, segregation, and disparity. Vouchers will be devastating for rural schools who have no access to private schools. As an educator of 32 years, I know the impact of school funding. I know the impact of enrollment and dollars per student. This bill is terrible not only financially for schools districts, but also socially, because it is disguised as "school choice," but really just fosters segregation.I am personally offended that Senator Zaun, who represents Johnston (the city in my children attend school) would initiate such a devastating bill when he personally represents an outstanding public school district. How can you, in good faith, look at your constituents who have moved to this area for the PUBLIC SCHOOLS and then turn around and take away money from their public schools?PLEASE KILL THIS BILL! SB 1065 is terrible for Iowa school children.
01-23-2021
Bonnie Raddatz [Retired]
I support public money going to public schools. We should be doing more to support public schools, not creating a way for private schools to benefit from public money. Please don't take more money from public schools! This will NOT improve public schools.
01-23-2021
Matthew Brown []
SSB 1065 deliberately harms public education in the state of Iowa by diverting taxpayer money to private schools. The bill is a topdown, statedriven attempt by legislators to deprive public schools of local controlhardly the "choice"based legislation it pretends to be. Similarly, legislators behind this misguided bill typically seek accountability for policy initiatives such as thisbut there is no supervision or oversight of the private schools that will benefit from the legislation. One wants to call this inconsistency or hypocrisybut the ongoing efforts of Republican legislators indicate that there is no set of values guiding their policy. If supporters of SSB 1065 were simply deviating from principles, they'd listen to arguments and reconsider their values or consistently hold to principle. But this is bad faith (when you know you are defying your beleifs): the bill's supporters have abandoned principle, in a sustained effort to simply exercise power in order to make government fail. Please reject this bill and, sponsors of the bill, please consider taxpayer money as part of the common treasure that helps out those in need, where public, underfunded rural and urban schools can best serve Iowa families seeking a fair and full education.
01-23-2021
Kevin McCarville []
I would like to express my support for SB 1065. This bill is not an attack on our fine public school system. Nor would it reduce funding to public education. Rather, it would empower parents to make an informed decision about what is best for their children, whether that be public or nonpublic education. Giving parents choices is always a good thing. I believe any time you empower parents with a choice, everyone wins. Options for education should not be determined by zip code or income but rather be a function of what parents deem as best for their children. Funding that follows the student is also a way to provide options for those Iowa families who, for whatever reason, are not satisfied with the school their child currently attends. I would encourage the committee to give strong consideration to this measure and, in doing so, give parents the opportunity to choose what educational program they deem is the best fit for their child.
01-23-2021
Elvira Hadzic [Public School Teacher ]
Taking away money from public schools is a loud message that you dont care about students or teachers. Public dollars belong to public schools, which are already plagued by budged cuts and severely underfunded. Even after all schools have endured during this pandemic, after your push to open schools because of all schools do for students, you have the audacity to take away funding. Do the right thing!
01-23-2021
Mindy Stieber [Public School Teacher and Mother]
I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds. The publics investment should be used to support public schools, which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. As a teacher, I work in a district required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.This will pull more resources away from public schools. I believe that we all benefit from strong public schools. Underfunding public education does not make our society as a whole stronger. Sincerely,Mindy Stieber
01-23-2021
Ann Lykke-Jaros []
SB 1065 should not be approved. This bill takes money away from public education. Public education was created to provide education for ALL students regardless of a student's race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. In addition, religious and other private education providers do not have to meet the same requirements as public schools for reporting student progress.Do not support SB 1065!
01-23-2021
Kimberly James []
Subcommittee members,I am opposed to the contents of SSB1065. 1. Student First Scholarships are not scholarships. They are vouchers that will divert public taxpayer funds away from public schools that are controlled by a locally elected board. Public money should stay with public schools. Private schools are not held to the same standard nor do they have the same requirements that public schools have. All students are welcome and accepted at public schools. That is not the case with private schools. These vouchers would cost the state an estimated $54 million if all eligible students take advantage. Where is this money coming from? Again, public taxpayer dollars must remain with public schools. 2. Under this bill, charter schools are exempt from the state rules and regulations that govern public schools. Again, public money must have public oversight in the form of the a locally elected school board.3. Racial and socioeconomic diversity greatly benefits all students. The districts that have voluntary diversity plans are doing the right thing by all Iowa families. Eliminating the diversity plans will harm all students, but especially students of color and students who have a low socioeconomic status. Allow these districts to continue with their diversity plans that benefit all students.4. The changes in the open enrollment rules unnecessarily punish districts. The requirement that the sending district pay the transportation costs for a student to go to another district is especially harmful. Of course parents should have a choice, but they must then pay for the costs of that choice.Thank you for your consideration.
01-23-2021
Semir Hadzic []
There's needs to be serious resistance towards defending education. If you stood against the defund the police movement, you absolutely have to stand against defunding public education. Or own up to your constituents that you're a hypocrite and don't care about our kids.
01-23-2021
Jennifer Gardner []
Public money should be used for public schools. This plan has shown in other states to hurt rural schools and students most. Please oppose this bill.
01-23-2021
Jenna Hoesing []
This bill serves to undermine public education which provides educational opportunities to 94% of the students in the state of Iowa. Public money is meant to be for public schools which are available for 100% of the students in Iowa. Vouchers will take money away from public schools and give them to private schools, which are not required to admit all students or follow the same rules, regulations and mandates that are required of public schools. If money is to be allocated towards anything other than public schools, it should be a requirement of these schools to admit any Iowa citizen who wants to attend and should require these schools to follow the same rules, regulations and mandates that public schools must follow. Unless this happens, your answer to this bill should be a resounding no.
01-23-2021
Heather Mills []
I would love to see this bill passed! My children have been in two different West Des Moines elementary buildings and the have both failed them leaving us to pull our kids out to homeschool, BC private school is to expensive and therefore not an option for us. More people are leaving the public schools than ever now because they are doing a terrible job, everyone's argument of well at least it's public knowledge we have oversight and can see what's happening. Well the numbers don't look good and the education isn't getting any better in response to the numbers, so that's clearly not a good argument. I would LOVE to send my kids to a private school and if this could help me and others do that I would be thrilled!! I pay taxes and sent my kids to a public school that FAILED them...Advocating for them I pulled them out and now I'm paying for curriculum and supplies out of my pocket and still paying taxes for the public schools that I can't in good conscious send my children to. I'm paying in and if I can use a bit of what I'm paying in to go towards my kids choice of education that's GREAT!!! The answer is NOT giving the public schools more money, the answer is making polices that give the kids an EXCELLENT Education and then everyone will want their kids in public schools and the money will follow. Until the quality of the public school is addressed I think doing everything we can to allow parents to give their kids the best education is best. I'm not close to wealthy and I know a lot of people who scrap by but make giant sacrifices to send their kids to private schools so the argument of this will only help the wealthy is false. And if this drives the public schools to increase their quality so they stop losing kids and money even more of a win!
01-23-2021
Kay Thuesen []
Fu ding non public schools and all the efforts listed above with tax dollars is NOT why we all pay taxes. Work to improve our public schools, our public educators, our students who attend public schools. We are proud of the public schools in Cedar Falls but dont detract from their efforts by creating a private option available to a limited number. Put your efforts into making the public schools the best they can be.
01-23-2021
Randall Jackson []
I no longer have a school. I grew up in rural Iowa and attended Grand Valley Community School k12. My school is now gone. Smaller population and less money forced consolidation of the district into neighboring districts. Closing the school damaged the community we shared in our towns. At my public school, I did not have the educational opportunities my children now have in Des Moines Public Schools. Also, I wouldn't have had a viable private school choice in my rural area. Would I or my family drive every day an hour to Des Moines, spending that gas money, to attend a big city private school? No...my parents would not have had the time, maybe the money, to drive me there. This bill seeks a handout for the limited few who have geographic and economic access to private education. Its aim is a potential benefit to only city families, potentially middle class and up families. It seems like a bill which resulted from city private school families complaining when very good public education with great educational opportunities already exists in their city. Now, ask rural public schools what extra educational opportunities are currently available to their students. Then, give rural folks and urban schools even less money while the city private school families get to keep more. Some Iowa families don't even have a viable choice let alone the money or time to take advantage of that choice. But, crediting out the money from those who have chosen not to participate in public school is hurting those who don't have the choice of schools due to geographic or economic reasons. You should feel an obligation to fund the choice everyone can make. Fund Public Education.
01-23-2021
Ruth Sereg []
I have been reading all of your negative comments about this bill, I am thankful that I have sent my child to a private school, and yes it has been a sacrifice. During this COVID outbreak I have seen how much all of her teachers have gone the extra mile for her and all their students, giving them assignments, homework challenging them to learn. All of her teachers going that extra mile for each and everyone of their students is wonderful, I feel that all students should be treated this way whether it be public or private, I do Not feel they should be shunned because of their choice of schools, I also know several girls that attend the public school district and have asked them about their assignments, homework, classes and they have said they have no assignments, no homework, only 3 classes a day. I am asking for you all to approve of this bill, to allow all children to be able to make the choice in their future, in our future! I am also a taxpayer.
01-23-2021
Heidi Zwick []
I am writing today in opposition to educational vouchers. The only thing vouchers would do is take away desperately needed funding from public schools that are already underfunded. Vouchers increase the educational disparity between urban, suburban, and rural schools and do NOTHING to improve the quality of education. If you want to do something that would actually improve education, try funding public education fully.
01-23-2021
Karl Schilling [United Electrical Workers/Iowa United Professionals]
I am old enough at 75 to recall when Iowa had the highest literacy rate in the country and yearly vied with a couple of other Midwestern states for first in education. Iowa was rightly proud of our standing and the educational system that got us there. How we dropped to the average level I don't know, but I do not believe that taking needed funding from public schools and shifting the funding through vouchers can do anything but further harm our standing and diminish Iowa's ability to provide a first class education to our youth. Thank you for your attention to this letter.
01-23-2021
Julie Carroll []
I urge you to oppose SSB 1065.Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. As soon as a school is able to deny entry for any reason, it should not be able to use my tax dollars. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. Public schools are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.Separation of church and state: I am a Christian, active in my church with my time and treasure. Yet, I do NOT want my public tax dollars spent on any private school with a religious affiliation or mission. SSB 1065 continues systems of racism and inequality. Iowa must lead the way in examining unjust practices (such as redlining right here in Des Moines and its generationslong implications to people of color) and how our laws and policies disadvantage people of color. SSB 1065, by taking resources away from already disadvantaged groups, only continues the racist systems of oppression that erode our state and country. Finally, when the going gets tough, Iowans do not "jump ship" (or in our case, tractor). When a public school is "failing," we do NOT abandon it and take our resources with us. We invest in that school with all the extra resources we have and repair it. Our state is only as good as its public schools. If we want Iowa to continue to be a place to live, work, and grow, we MUST allocate all PUBLIC tax dollars marked for education to our PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
01-23-2021
Kenneth Hanson []
I oppose any public tax money being diverted from public schools. If people want to send their children to a private school, they should pay for that themselves. This bill would divert money from public schools, which must provide education to ALL students, to private schools who can exclude children. This is not a good use of taxpayer money. Our schools have already been underfunded the last several years and this will only add to the underfunding. Please oppose this bill.
01-23-2021
Claudia Wood []
I am strongly opposed to a voucher program. Public schools are the backbone of our state and our future. Tax dollars should not be siphoned from our public schools.
01-23-2021
Renee Parsons []
Public funds should be used for public education. Private schools should only be funded by tuition paid by parents and private donations.
01-23-2021
Karen Nolte []
Why are you always trying to drag the public school system in Iowa down? Can't you for once just be proud of the system we have in place and try to build it up?? I simply do not want my public taxes to pay for someone elec's child to attend a private school! I have had children and now grandchildren in Iowa public schools and I am proud of this fact.
01-23-2021
Yvonne Raes []
I do not support this bill. Our public schools should not be undermined by funneling our tax dollars to private and parochial schools that discriminate against LGBTQ as well as not provide services for special needs children.
01-23-2021
Tom Novotney []
I write to you in support of SSB1065. Parents should have the option to chose the best education available to them, and an education that matches their beliers. I support the expansion of the tuition and textbook credit. This program provides benefits to all Iowans, not just those who choose to send students to a nonpublic school. As costs have risen for tuition, textbooks, and other qualified expenses, this tax credit has not been adjusted to match those costs. Increasing the credit as proposed would provide additional benefits for all families. I also support the provision to allow educators to deduct up to $500 in qualified expenses. Teachers in both public and nonpublic schools spend money out of their own pockets for classroom materials and supplies as a way to enhance and supplement their classrooms. I hope that Iowa can continue to find ways to expand educational opportunities for all students.
01-23-2021
Laurie Edwards []
Vote no. This bill is going to kill Iowa public schools. We are already inadequately funded. Take the money you are using for this and give it to the public schools that need it. This bill doesn't help our children, schools, communities, or Iowans.
01-23-2021
Lisa Deatrick []
This bill is not in the best interest of public schools thus it is not in the best interest of community tax payers. Taxpayer money should not go to schools that are not held accountable to the standards set by the department of education. Taxpayer's money should also only go to schools that are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status and disabilities. Students attending public schools will be hurt if this bill is passed and our communities will suffer suffer in the long run.
01-23-2021
Eunice Christensen []
As a retired teacher, and the mother of a public school teacher, I DO NOT support this bill. Public dollars should be spent on public schools ONLY. If parents want to send their children to private schools, they need to pay for that themselves. PLEASE do NOT take money from our public schools. It will RUIN our school system which should be available to ALL children!
01-23-2021
Katy Nahra []
Please vote NO for the SSB 1065 bill. I am a public school teacher and parent of children in the public school system. This bill, simply put, is unethical. It is a way to legally discriminate. Private schools have no legal requirements to take children that apply, meaning students can be rejected for any reason. This will inevitably create segregation based on class, race, gender, and ability. It will discriminate against students with IEPs, special education plans, disabilities, and families with lower incomes. Public schools accept all students regardless of race, religion, or ability and must legally provide support for social/emotional health, food, special education services, etc. Who would not want to ensure resources for such a unified vision and diverse experience for all our children?For those in favor of the bill, I am truly sorry that you have not had a positive experience in your public school. As a teacher, that breaks my heart. We try very hard to give every student a great education, but sometimes we fail. However, stealing already dire funds from our public schools takes away opportunities for other children to have a positive experience. Its selfish. I believe our failures are the exception, not the rule. Iowa has some of the best public schools in the nation. We are doing many things right, and we have big ideas on how to improve our schools, but we need tax money. We need community support. Im sorry you have to buy your own school supplies to homeschool your child, or that you had to pay expensive tuition for your private education, but that is your choice. A privilege. Even with these vouchers, students from lower income families would not be able to afford the full costs of most private school tuition or the transportation to those schools. It benefits the wealthy even more. Public school teachers spend hundreds of dollars of their own money each year to buy school supplies, snacks, and other resources for their students and classrooms. I buy these supplies with a happy heart, because I believe that each child deserves the best, so please dont make it even harder on us all. I know that educating our children through the public school system is the best way to ensure a thriving community for everyone. This bill separates us further from our goals of equity and inclusion.
01-23-2021
Theresa Jackson []
Please vote NO on the voucher/charter bills. I am a proud Des Moines public school teacher and parent. I know that if these harmful bills are passed it will have a crippling effect on ALL our Iowa public schools. Taxpayer money is for the whole community. Public schools are inclusive, and they accept and teach every child that walks through their doors. Public schools are the happy hub of many Iowa towns and communities. Public schools partner with families and serve the whole child. Public school teachers work tirelessly to create classrooms where every student is challenged to be a thinker, ask questions, and set goals. I tell my school families that I am part of their team. I really care about the growth and development of my students and these bills do not make me feel valued or respected as a public educator. Private and charter schools do not have to follow the same rules as public schools. Private schools can choose who enrolls in their school; they do not have to educate all kids. These bills would create a separate and unequal system especially damaging families that lack resources. The states that have voucher/charter schools are not wellranked nationally. Why would Iowa want to put our #6 rank at risk? Just imagine what could happen if public schools were fully funded? I suspect Iowa would return to #1 ranking. Please respect and care for our Iowa public education system. School means the world to my students, my school families, to me, and to my family. If we fully invest in public education now and say NO to a voucher/charter system, we can secure a strong Iowa work force in the future. Our great state deserves a great public education system that serves all students.
01-23-2021
Jennifer Turner []
I strongly oppose this bill. Public money belongs in public schools and we need more of it. I am a school speech therapist and my caseload has been going up as the state has cut our funding. It makes a difference in what I can do for each student. I have also worked in private schools since I am employed with the AEA. Achievement levels are similar. Iowa has good public schools and that is one of the main reasons people stay here or come here. Vouchers are a giveaway to those who already choose private school and will take muchneeded funding from public schools, leading to even more rural school consolidation, among other negative effects. Vouchers have an overall negative record in the states in which they've been implemented according to research. In addition, I am concerned that these "scholarships" can be used for private therapies or tutoring. My experience with private speech therapy is that almost everyone who seeks it qualifies as it is fee for service. Some of it is good, and some of it is questionable. We have a process to determine who needs services in Iowa and this seems, according to my reading of the bill, to open up giving public money to private therapy or tutoring entities with a less than stellar record or those using unproven methods and unreliable standardized testing. Iowans in education are fed up and there will surely be a worsening teacher shortage if this is enacted, as well as the exodus of professional parents, who want diverse, properly funded public schools.
01-23-2021
Kelly Kohout [Diocese of Sioux City Catholic Schools]
Senate Education Committee, I appreciate you taking into consideration SSB 1065 to enable parents to make the best choice for their childs education. This is not public versus private school debate it is about educating all children in the best way possible. It would empower lowincome families, single parents, and workingclass families living in lowincome areas with poorly performing schools a chance at a better education and the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. This could be the start of a strong education savings account program in Iowa in which students would have access to an education that sets them up for success regardless of an arbitrary zip code or socioeconomic background.Students First provides tools that allow parents to redeem the tax dollars they contribute and put them toward the schools and services that best fit their childs needs. Parents who can afford it already exercise their school choice by moving to the preferred school district and buying a home, or making sacrifices to pay twice: both for their childs private school tuition and the taxes to support the public system. But for lowerincome families, that is not an option.For parents without this luxury, Students First offers them the financial freedom to choose the most appropriate learning environment and the best opportunity for their child to succeed as well. Hopefully, this will someday be a reality for all families, but Students First is a step toward giving some families options.
01-23-2021
Phil Drey []
Especially in todays world, the foundation for all Iowas children to become valuable and positive societal contributors starts with a solid and comprehensive education. Every child in the state of Iowa should be presented with an equal opportunity to achieve this goal. How and where a childs preparation is the decision and responsibility of each parent. A parents decision of school and how best to educate their child is a fundamental right held by every parent. This bill is a positive step toward allowing each parent to make that important decision for their child. Also, as many entries have accurately pointed out, this bill does not take funds from public school districts and is plainly misleading and untrue.
01-23-2021
Donna Bishop []
I appreciate the efforts of the governor on recognizing the need for school choice. Parents deserve the right to choose the education that is best for their child. I would like to see this opportunity given to all students, not just those in struggling schools. We cannot continue to think we are going to meet the needs of all students with the 'one size fits all' mentality any longer. State funds will not be given to private schools. The funds will be given to parents to choose the education that is best for their child. Families will still be given the choice of public or private education to meet the needs/desire of their children. Please be willing to take the time to look/listen to facts and leave emotion out. School Choice should be viewed as a WinWin scenario for everyone. Why is there fear in allowing freedom of choice while saving the state of Iowa millions of dollars?
01-23-2021
Casey Laskowski []
Please oppose SSB 1065. Budget cuts for our schools are already happening at an alarming rate. Even more so, public dollars should not be going towards private or homeschooling. If you choose to send your child to private school or home school them that is a choice you have made and therefore you are choosing to not use public dollars. Smaller school districts as well as large school districts need every dollar they can get as they are already underfunded and are often times responsible for educating and caring for our states underserved communities we should not be taking any more money out of these vital school districts. There are solutions out there to help our school districts but SSB 1065 is not one of them.Thank you for your time.
01-23-2021
Kathy Schneider []
Strong, high quality public education is essential to our state. It is the reason I moved back to Iowa when I started my family. We are losing ground; schools were much better when I was growing up in Iowa. We must reinvest in public schools. Any move toward channeling tax dollars to charter schools, private schools or voucher programs further jeopardizes quality public education. Iowa will not be competitive for business without quality public schools. Please vote against this bill.
01-23-2021
Josh Bowar [Sioux Center Christian School]
I applaud the efforts of Governor Reynolds for highlighting Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) in her Condition of the State Address last week. I fully agree with her statement: Lets work together to make sure every child receives a quality education, regardless of income, and no matter their zip code. This is so important for all kids in our state. I also agree with her that school choice and parental rights in education is not a zerosum game and highly support her and the legislature in ensuring that every Iowa parent has the choice of a great public, private, or other education option that best meets their childs needs. When you focus on what is truly best for kids, that's school choice and what's best for everyone.To that end, thank you for starting a conversation on how best to meet that goal we should all share: a quality education for every child. As currently written, the bill is divided into eight divisions, and a couple of those divisions directly many families.Division V expands the tuition and textbook tax credit. This tax credit has been in existence for many decades and benefits families utilizing public and private schools. I applaud the Governor for including this in her proposal.Division I creates students first scholarships at a rate estimated to be about half the per student dollar amount available to students who choose a charter school outlined in Division II of the bill. As written, these students first scholarships are only available to students residing within the boundaries of 34 schools in Iowa with the lowest classifications of performance based on federal ESSA standards. In essence, this limits choice based on zip code. I highly discourage basing a familys ability to choose an educational environment that best meets their needs based on failing schools or the actions of a third party in general. This is not providing choice for all. There are practical concerns about implementing a program of this nature along with the philosophical questions. I am hopeful that the Iowa legislature considers replacing this division of the bill with an ESA program that serves Iowans statewide based on a parents choice because I agree with the Governor that these programs should be offered regardless of income, and no matter their zip code.Again, I am extremely grateful to Governor Reynolds for introducing parental choice as an issue this year and the many legislators who have voiced their support of Iowa parents. When everyone is provided choice, we all benefit. After all, a rising tide lifts all ships.I strongly encourage your consideration of adjusting these items in the legislation. Thank you again for your support of school choice in Iowa.
01-23-2021
Jennifer Brown []
This will further deplete funding from public schools that are already woefully underfunded. Another result will be an increase the opportunity gap, since the most affluent students and families will benefit, leaving the rest in public schools that lack the needed funding. Private schools are free to turn away students who have behavioral or intellectual disabilities, again, leading to wider gaps. Public dollars should only be used for public schools! Our public schools have amazing, dedicated staff, so there is no reason for public dollars to pay for an alternative.
01-23-2021
Julie Powell-Mohr []
To Our LegislatorsThere have been so many compelling comments for opposing SSB1065, and far more opposition to the bill than those supporting. Even some of our students across the state are weighing in with their opposition. But one thing we must talk about as a state, and the one thing that has such farreaching fingers is how do we create a shared vision for ourselves and for the futureand the issue is equity. In fact, all our legislative conversations should begin with a deep examination of impact on all Iowans. I understand why private schools and some parents who are sending their children to private schools would like to have the support of our tax dollars, but this is clearly not an option for all families and all studentseven with the aid of tax dollars. And it has huge impact on public school funding for schools across the state as well as implications for our rural communities who do not have private school access. We must begin with the question of equitya shared vision that includes all our kids. These are the public schools across the state. The more help we give to schools and school districts that have great needs, the more able those schools are to support the education of kids who are the future of this stateall kids. And that affects all of us.A shared vision would chart a path to a shared future for our kids and grandkids. One thing the pandemic has done is to give us new eyes to see the needs around us. I have been deeply moved by the stories of healthcare professionals and teachers and people working in all forms of food distribution and food banks all across the countrypeople who have changed so quickly in response to the needs around them. Our hearts have been cracked open. Im hoping our new eyes can help us recognize that we already have school choices for our children with open enrollment, but our new eyes can also give us the ability to see into the future and notice that how we invest in our children collectively today will help them see how their wellbeing is connected to the wellbeing of all. Equity is at the very heart of our lives going forwardand begins with our public schools. Our children will know if we make a commitment to supporting the public schools, and that sends a powerful message that will resonate far into the future. Theres probably no greater gift. If we think about it, voting no on SSB1065 would be a win/win for all of us.Sincerely,
01-23-2021
Diana Smith []
As a public school teacher, I urge you to vote against creating a school voucher program. Our public schools have been underfunded for years. Instead of creating something new that will take money away from schools, help education in Iowa by properly funding public schools first. The taxes I and others pay, should not go to private schools, but to support public education and the Iowans whose only chance at an education is by their local public school. The ones who need funds the most still wouldn't be able to afford a private school education with vouchers. Creation of voucher programs hasn't improved education in other states. The only way to improve education in Iowa is by providing more funds to schools so they can hire more teachers, associates and interventionists; decrease class sizes that are too big, provide for all students to have their own computer from kindergarten through high school and improve old buildings and infrastructure. I sincerely hope that members of your committee with speak to teachers from a variety of schools to get accurate information. This includes not only rural school districts, but also urban schools in lowsocioeconomic areas of our largest cities. Thank you.
01-23-2021
Brena Corona [Retired]
If I wanted to give my allotted tax dollars to a family so that they could send their children to a private, a religious, a "school for business profit" then I would prefer to burn those dollars out in the street!This country was founded on publicly educating the populous. And, we should fund that endeavor. But to permit charter "for profit" schools and to join the "gravy train that includes religious and private schools, I say, "NO!" If you want your children to attend either of any of these, pay for it yourself. I have read comments that included financial reasons why Iowa should not pass legislation which would permit tax dollars to go to the business coffers of the charter school investors. Well said! Iowa will have a mess on its hands in a few years just as the privatization of the prison system and the handling of State issued medical insurance for the low income. Providing for the mentally ill in Iowa has also been affected by assignment of management to 'BUSINESS". The Legislator's job is not to fund my tax dollars to business coffers. It is to provide for the common good!
01-23-2021
andy goodner []
Iowa has always prided itself on strong public schools. Keep the money in public schools. If the public system has problems then fix the problems, dont just take away their funding.
01-23-2021
Jack Jaros []
SB 1065 should not be approved. This bill takes money away from public education. Public education was created to provide education for ALL students regardless of a student's race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. In addition, religious and other private education providers do not have to meet the same requirements as public schools for reporting student progress
01-23-2021
Kari Straube []
Iowa Public schools provide basic services unavailable in other rural Iowa areas, including routine screenings for hearing and sight, mental health services during the school day, hot breakfasts and lunches, and access to dozens of professionals trained in mental health awareness, suicide prevention, mandatory reporting, as well as the best educational practices for each student to be successful.This bill would funnel money away from those basic public services and put it in the hands of schools not required to provide all of the services listed above (and more!). This bill will greatly harm rural schools that are already struggling with declining enrollment. It will create more hardships for our most vulnerable Iowans: our children. Please instead consider more adequately funding our already robust public schools so they can continue to do the excellent work they are doing and improve where they may currently struggle.
01-23-2021
Laura Taylor-Lloyd []
I oppose this bill as it would allow taxpayer dollars to finance a private school education. Strong public schools are a cornerstone of Iowas identity and heritage. This bill would further stress public schools already tight budgets. Please do not allow this bill to advance.
01-23-2021
Karen Phomvisay []
Please vote "No" to the voucher bill on Monday. Public dollars belong in public schools which have to follow state and federal guidelines for educating our children. As a parent of public school children, I am aware that our public schools are underfunded, especially during this time of crisis with extra spending required to keep our kids and teachers healthy. Please vote to keep public funds in public institutions. Thank you for considering my view,Karen Phomvisay(Marshall county voter)
01-23-2021
Doug Hoyng []
We should not use tax payer dollars to fund schools that are not accountable to the state. It is important for accountability to be transparent and private schools have no requirement to do so. Stop this bill as it is today.
01-23-2021
Bill Sitas []
I think it is important to remember that taxpayer dollars belong to the taxpayers. As a taxpayer, why would I forfeit my connection to dollars designated for my child's education simply because I choose a school that is allowed to have a focus on faith? The claims that these funds better serve the public school system is laughable. Nonpublic schools have a strong tradition of providing excellent academics in Iowa. Nonpublic schools do more with their per pupil budget than most public schools.I know we will read all of the typical responses of how this would destroy our public school system because the money and students would go elsewhere. Nonpublics would only take the high achievers and leave struggling children behind and with less money to serve them. I am not sure how many nonpublic schools the general public has walked through but I can assure you that there are children in nonpublic schools who need supports, children who are on discipline plans, who come from families that live paycheck to paycheck. Bottom line, all Iowans deserve to choose the education that is best for them. The vast majority will stay with their current public school. However, for those that are wanting an alternative for their children, they deserve to have funds follow their children.I support this general idea but its current form is far from good. Funds should NOT be tied to whether a district is failing. Rather, it should simply be a choice for all Iowa parents. There are several states that have successfully implemented a system. Let's not lag behind.
01-23-2021
Stacy Young [Public school parent]
Dear Committee Members, please vote NO on this bill. Public dollars should fund public education, and do so adequately. Charter schools are not beholden to the same transparency standards as public schools. There will be no accountability with regard to student achievement, expenditures,decision making, and open records. What happens when the company running a charter school fails to perform or decides to exit because the business is not profitable? There will be no recourse. One only has to look at Iowa's privatized Medicaid experiment to see how that worked. This bill would decimate rural and urban schools alike.
01-23-2021
Dawn Clark []
Public money belongs to public schools. Vote NO to SSB 1065
01-23-2021
Patrick May []
I recently moved to Iowa from Indiana, which was one of the leading states for voucher programs. Over the past 10 years, the primary effect these bills have had in Indiana were to hollow out the public education system and impoverish teachers and school districts while having no effect on educational outcomes. Indiana's education system is currently in crisis due to bills like these. Iowans owe it to future generations to take care of its public education system. This bill must be reconsidered as it puts the future of Iowa education at risk.
01-23-2021
Warren Wicks []
I believe this ia a poor bill that attacks the very fiber of what makes our towns cohesive and strong. Every one rallies around the public school in thir community. Whether it is athletic events or performance art or PTO activities they all bring kids and adults together and raises everyones sense of fellowship. To divert any thing from them is a direct assault on the towns themselves. A long time republican I will not vote for any one on my ballot who supports this bill.
01-23-2021
Jennifer Bertrand []
I do not want my taxpayer dollars used to fund scholarships/vouchers for students to attend nonpublic schools. Iowa used to be known for its strong commitment to public education and this bill will further erode public education in Iowa. If parents want to send their children to private schools that is their choice and they can pay for it themselves.
01-23-2021
Mark Grewe [Lutheran Interparish Lutheran School]
TO: Senate Subcommittee members as they consider Bill SSB 1065 As a school teacher and administrator in the Lutheran School system, I have had the privilege of working alongside many publicschool systems over my 39 years as an educator, including the one in the city of Williamsburg, Iowa. My experience brought me to 4 different states including Iowa. I am proud to say, that many of the school districts believed that it was vital to educate the students in their district to the best of their abilities; no matter where parents chose to send their child(ren).. When the relationship was built on this premise, we accomplished many great things for families who wanted what was best for their child(ren). My experiences in working in Iowa have shown me that Iowa works for the providing support to families!I have also witnessed through my experiences as a leader in accrediting schools the successful partnership between public school and nonpublic school when vouchers, ESAs and other public support was allowed to take place. The fears of failure were replaced with partnership in educating all students together with the choice of where the students will go to school being given to the parent. It is my belief that parents ultimately should be able to choose the best education for the child(ren) and that they should have the right to be supported in their decisions. Many parents may not have that luxury because over the course of our educational history, educating children has become expensive.I was very excited when Governor Reynolds highlighted Education Savings Accounts ESAs) in her condition of the state address. Her goal to ask Legislatures to work together to make sure every student receives a quality education regardless of income of where they live. My belief matched hers when she asked to ensure EVERY Iowa parent has a choice for a great public, private, or other educational option which meets their childs unique needs. When reading through the bill that you will begin considering this coming Monday, I would like to express my thoughts on some parts of the bill. Division I creates students first scholarships which is estimated to be about half the per student dollar amount available to students who choose a charter school outlined in Division II of the bill. As written, these scholarships are only available to a select number of students. I am hopeful that the Iowa legislature considers replacing this division of the bill with an ESA program that serves Iowans statewide based on a parents choice because we agree with the Governor that these programs should be offered regardless of income, and no matter their zip code.Division IV creates a database that would require us to pay up to $7 per student to report to the database. As a principal in an Independently Accredited School through the National Lutheran School Accreditation process, I question the need for such a database. I encourage the legislature to amend or remove this division.Division V expands the tuition and textbook tax credit. This tax credit has been in existence for many decades and benefits families utilizing public and private schools. I am grateful that the Governor has included this in her proposal.Thank you so much for allowing me to express my thoughts. It is my hope that Iowans will continue to work together to make sure that parents are given the choice to provide the best educational experience for those children who have been placed in their care.Respectfully submitted,Mark J. Grewe
Attachment
01-23-2021
Theresa Schweitzer []
I oppose SSB 1065 as a taxpayer and want public dollars used for public schools!
01-23-2021
Christopher Cooper []
I am in OPPOSITION to SSB 1065: Student First Scholarship Program.It is way too expensive. The majority of families who are enrolling their children in private schools are able to pay for it without assistance. They already get a nice tax credit. Giving them this voucher, will just cause these private schools to raise their tuition, allowing attendance by the same wealthy families. And then money is taken from the public schools where the majority of Iowans attend. IOWA IS A MIDDLE CLASS STATE. Our tax money needs to go to PUBLIC EDUCATION which is utilized by the majority of Iowans (approx 480,000 students). Giving $50 million in private school vouchers, but only $20 million in new SSA to the public schools? You should be ashamed of yourselves for even letting a bill like this get this far. $50 million is a ridiculous amount of public money to be spent on 10,000 children.
01-23-2021
Kacie Sires []
I grew up in Michigan where the DeVos family started many for profit schools that were funded by the vouchers for which they lobbied. Instead of test scores in Michigan going up, public school districts were bankrupted, the for profit schools had subpar test results, and public schools also had declines in test scores. Rather than copying a failed voucher experiment, fund our public schools and give them the tools and resources needed to make our schools the best in the nation. People who move here from the coasts are baffled at why we dont have more private schools, but private schools arent needed when you have strong public schools. Support our public schools!
01-23-2021
Sara Nichols []
I am in OPPOSITION to SSB 1065: Student First Scholarship Program for the following reasons:1) The pandemic made clear how very important our public schools are to society in general. Taking money from public schools is in direct opposition to this ideal.2) I am all for families having the choice to send their children to private schools. But, PUBLIC MONEY IS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS! Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used. 3) Modifying diversity plans will contribute to "white flight" and will create segregated schools which is illegal and discriminatory. This would disproportionally affect urban schools. 4) The State of Iowa can not afford this bill. Some estimates but the price tag upwards of $54 million. That is considerably higher than the 2.5% increase of SSA proposed for public schools. This means the State would be willing to spend considerably more money on vouchers than on public schools.5) Any leftover voucher money can be used for postsecondary education. Those same benefits would not be applied to traditional public schools students. This is discriminatory.6) Charter schools would be exempt from most state statutes, rules and any local regulation or policy applicable to a public school, except for federal and state health and safety, laws prohibiting discrimination. How is that acceptable?How are any of the above acceptable?Sara NicholsDes Moines, IA
01-23-2021
Elizabeth Luttrell []
Hello. I am a Christian public school parent and an ELL public school educator in a "property poor" district in North Iowa where many students are already attending outside of their assigned schools to other communities and private schools. This is hurting our schools. The communities around with "better" schools are whiter and wealthier. They are not necessarily providing better education. As a teacher in these "bad" schools in Iowa I have a front row seat into the education being provided. The schools in and of themselves are not bad. The teachers are doing great things for their students and working hard to do the best for their students. The teachers are welltrained and caring. Every school in Iowa I've ever been in as a college student and teacher labeled as "failing" had great things going on. The schools have these labels because of the students who attend there. They are poor. Often they are from minorities. They are language learners. They have behavior problems. These schools continue to lag behind because of how schools are funded. It has nothing to do with the actual schools. I am confused why we would want to take even more money away from these struggling schools. What if we decided to actually fund these poor schools with poor students adequately? Imagine what could happen?! Please keep funding our public schools and not taking money away from the schools that need the money the most. Please give ALL Iowa students a chance to have a great education. And PLEASE stop labeling schools as failing when in reality it has most to do with the socioeconomics of the area and little to do with the actual schools and the education they provide.
01-23-2021
Jesse Howard [New London School Board]
Please Vote NO for School Vouchers!Invest in Iowas public schools, which educate 94% of Iowa students. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principal of equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings.More than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings according to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project Analysis.
01-23-2021
Barbara Royal [Retired]
Please DO NOT pass this bill out of the subcommittee! Ido NOT want my tax dollars diverted to support private schools. Iowa has a long history of superior public schools. We need to maintain our public school system. If parents do not want their children to participate in the public schools, that is their prerogative, but not at my expense! Keep public money for public schools!
01-23-2021
Barbara Kuttler []
My tax dollars should not go to fund private schooling. Period. Listen to Superintendents of Iowa's school districts. This bill will only further encourage segregation.
01-23-2021
Amanda Guerttman []
Public dollars belong to PUBLIC schools. A public school is available for all residents. If they choose not to attend, then they need to fund their personal choice with their own dollars not taxpayers' dollars. Schools are underfunded as it is now. Directing additional dollars away from public schools will be devastating to our state especially to smaller school districts. Please end this bill NOW!
01-23-2021
Michael Blake [Educator]
Vouchers/scholarships for private school use should not be supported by public money. Public schools are in place for all families to send children. Choosing to attend a private school is a personal choice that should be financially supported by that family. Public tax dollars should not be used. Tax breaks should not be given.Current funding for public schools is not adequate. To divert more funding for private needs is wrong. This past year has shown the important role held by public schools. Support it with a vote to only provide tax dollars which directly support public schools.
01-23-2021
Cory Johnson []
I am writing out of great concern following the Governors Condition of the State Address and after reviewing SSB 1065. The priorities and proposals for more school choice including charter schools, Educational Savings Accounts (a form of school vouchers), and expanding open enrollment are nothing less than a full frontal assault on Iowa's public schools, Iowa's students, and Iowa's educators. I am a parent of Iowa public school students and an educator in an Iowa public school. These initiatives are illadvised and detrimental to Iowas children, families, and communities. They are also a slap in the face to Iowas educators, public employees who work tirelessly and with a high level of dedication, to serve their communities. These actions, if implemented, will most likely widen achievement gaps, increase costs, harm students, and harm communities, especially communities with higher levels of poverty and minority communities.Iowans depend on public schools for much more than the education of their children. Across most of Iowa, especially rural areas, public schools provide access to meals, healthcare, mental health supports. Iowas public schools are not perfect. Neither are Iowas private schools. Through purposeful investment in public education, we can better ensure that Iowas schools are well positioned to drive increases in student achievement and ultimately economic growth. These efforts can and should align with Future Ready Iowa. The most equitable and least disruptive way of providing educational options to families is by helping Iowas public school systems grow their programs and expand the options that they are able to provide. Iowas educators are innovative, as has been shown more than ever in the past year. Iowas local School Boards invest in innovative programs and act to expand services and programs for their students. Local businesses and organizations form meaningful and mutually beneficial partnerships with their local Districts.Key Points for Consideration Public education is meant to be the great equalizer, open to all students. Iowas public schools serve all students in their communities. Regardless of disability, income, race, religion, level of academic achievement, or transiency, Iowas public educators welcome them all. Iowas demographics are changing, poverty rates are increasing, families are more transient, levels of childhood trauma are higher than in the past. All of this alongside declining enrollment across 2/3 of Iowas school Districts due to population declines in most of our State. It is time to rally around schools and invest in them, not attack them because they are being asked to serve students and families with increasingly complex needs in an increasingly complex society with increasingly complex rules, regulations, and requirements placed upon them by the Legislature.The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Iowa is and has been focused on building supportive relationships between the DE and AEAs. The system is built on the understanding that Districts that are experiencing the highest levels of need should be provided with additional supports and resources, not have resources and supports stripped away from them. The focus is on growth and improvement, not punishment and sanctions. This is based on the acknowledgement that the Districts demonstrating the highest levels of need often serve a large population of students who experience various forms of adversity. As one example, 75% of the buildings on the current Comprehensive Schools list are in the 25% of Districts in Iowa with the highest poverty rates. These designations are also reserved for schools who receive federal Title I funds. Schools should not be punished for the demographics or experiences of their residents or their receipt of certain federal funds, they should be supported and assisted. The educators who choose to work in these Districts are also some of the strongest and most wellintentioned professionals, they are heroes and angels. They accept the challenges of teaching students who are experiencing trauma and adversity and work tirelessly to improve the quality of life for their students and communities. These Districts provide expansive programs and supports in innovative ways. These schools are places where educators can make the most profound impact on students. Rhetoric about 'failing schools' and schools 'falling behind' could not be further from the truth. Demonizing schools, and worse demonizing educators, for serving underserved populations is beyond misguided and offensive to those educators and the families they serve.Public schools serve as an economic driver for their communities. Public schools are one of the largest employers in many of Iowas communities proving hundreds if not thousands of jobs in each of their communities. They are also large customers for local contractors, vendors, stores, service providers, and other businesses. The overall health of the business community is tied to the health of the public school system. Strengthening public school strengthens communities. Private schools, charter schools, and open enrollment result in and incentivize white flight and reverse segregation based on income, race, and social class. In most cases they are able to limit who they accept. Put simply, some families choose a school option based on a desire to get away from those kids, whether that means black students, students with disabilities, poor students, nonChristian students, or some other group that is perceived to be holding their child back or holding their childs school back. Iowas public schools are responsible for providing a full curriculum including core academic subject areas and a full suite of exploratory and elective options, meeting the requirements set forth in Iowa Code for school accreditation. They are responsible for providing Special Education services, federally funded Title programs, nursing, counseling, food, transportation, extracurriculars. And providing all of these in an equitable, evidencebased manner with staff who are highly trained and closely supervised. In most communities with private schools, students from those schools still attend public schools for access to these programs and services which private schools are unable to provide. Most students in Iowa do not, and will not, have access to school choices. Much of Iowa is simply too rural and sparsely populated to support multiple school systems. Even in larger communities, bleeding enrollment from public schools weakens them. There is an economy of scale with regards to education and charter school and voucher systems create additional systems, making each part less sustainable over time. If anything, Iowa needs to consider incentivizing sharing of programs in order to improve efficiency and the overall quantity and quality of the programs available to all students, regardless of where they attend school. Public funds should remain under public control with assurances that they serve the public purpose. There are tight controls and systems in place within Iowas public schools to ensure that taxpayer funds are used appropriately. Putting public schools into a position where they are forced to compete with neighboring District, private schools, is not a motivator to do better but a distraction from the core mission. Leaders must spend more time focused on marketing, branding, and competing. The focus turns to the message and public perception instead of the actual work of teaching and learning. Funds will be used, out of necessity, for promotion, advertising, or other expenses meant to make the school look more attractive than the other options that are available. None of these things improve the quality of education and actually take resources (time and money) away from where they should be spent. Charter school and school voucher systems in other States have been shown to be ineffective, harmful to student learning, and a waste of taxpayer money.Please consider these perspectives and the ways in which these proposals would result in widened gaps, demoralized educators, and have a disproportionate impact on communities of poverty, color, and adversity.
01-23-2021
Taylor McGregsen [STUDENT 12TH GRADE]
after reviewing SSB 1065, I am a student and I am shocked on how the attack on public schools keep going, I have attended both private and public schools, this is my last year and I already bought my own home and pay taxes. I suffered in private school, I have a disability and the private school would not allow me to come back, why would they? They can get money for someone they can helpless, I have overcome my disability a thank you to my public school teachers. I would rather move out of state then watch my tax dollars assist in bankrupting the public school system because my party in the Iowa government want to use their flex. STOP PUTTING STUDENTS LIKE ME AT RISK FOR YOUR OWN AGENDA. I challenge any committee member who votes yes to donate one month's salary to public school and watch some positive changes, then do another month to private schools and watch kids suffer, at your own hand. I am mainly speaking to Amy Sinclair who literally told me, " I don't have time, you will understand when you're older. I am now and I do understand, You're trying to achieve a goal, one that hurts kids, unless they're yours. Please love all.
01-24-2021
Hayley Pratt []
If this bill passes, it will be the death of public schools in Iowa. Public schools are already struggling and underfunded. This bill endangers the education of every young person in the state. As an educator in this state I have already started looking for opportunities outside of Iowa, in preparation of this bill. I cannot continue to sit by and watch this state withhold education from the most vulnerable of its students.
01-24-2021
Vera Ruchotzke [Cedar Rapids Community Schools]
Hello,I wanted to share my objections for SSB 1065. Public funding for Iowa public school's has been on a steady decline in our state for a number of years now. SSB 1065 would siphon away additional dollars from Iowa's public schools and shift them towards private schools. This is not right as public dollars should be allocated for public schools. Public funds require accountability and transparency and you have to acknowledge that nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools.While Iowa's schools are not perfect, I would be willing to put my school and District up against any nonpublic school in the state of Iowa in terms of the quality of education we provide. However, if money is moved away from public schools, it would continue to erode the education our kids receive. Public schools are held to high standards of accountability and charter schools are not. Public dollars need to be monitored not just given away. The current system offers individual choice to families and should continue as is.
01-24-2021
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick []
I have long believed that a quality public education has been the cornerstone in a healthy democracy and society. I believe we have a strong public education system in Iowa. Diverting tax dollars away from our public schools is wrong. I also believe in the separation of church and state, so allowing public tax dollars to go toward religious education should be unconstitutional.
01-24-2021
Tim Deatrick []
I oppose this bill because it creates inequity in education.
01-24-2021
Zac Sinram [WDMCS]
If this pandemic has shown me as an administrator, it is the importance of public school and it's impact on families and the broader community. We will get through this pandemic, and public schools will need more support, not less. This feels like striking while your opponent is down. I understand the disappointment in how some districts handled this pandemic and I have supported the state actions to get us back to our important work in person. Those districts will have natural consequences of how things were handled. Please do not penalize public school as a whole for the actions of few. Public Schools are the great experiment. This is an attack on that experiment. While we are learning how we can improve in the area of equity, the last year has opened my eyes to fact that public education is the number one equity force in society. This plan is oversimplified, the issue is deeper, support needs to be greater. This isn't the time to disrupt our system.
01-24-2021
Karin Eshelman []
How is this Bill even on the table. Public money like the taxes I pay, should not directly or indirectly go to fund non public schools. Sure people can send their kids to whatever school they like, but if you want your kids to go to private school then you pay the tuition. Dont expect hand outs from the state.
01-24-2021
Tom Pekarek [Former AGWSR school board member]
I am absolutely opposed to SSB1065. This effort to provide school vouchers is just another example of how Republicans in Iowa have tried to privatize our public institutions. Look at how they have failed miserably at Medicaid in Iowa. Now, once again, they are wanting to defund public education under the auspice of improving educational opportunity by taking money from public schools and giving it to private schools. Sending your children to a private school is a personal choice that should not require the rest of taxpayers to give their tax dollars to support these folks that dont want their children in public schools. Lets work together to make Iowas public schools to be as great as they were in the past. Surely there are things that need to be improved in education in Iowa but minimizing and removing public funding for public schools is not the answer. If the Iowa Legislature wants this proposal to be vetted let it be the choice of all Iowans to make the decision by a vote rather than a onesided by a Republican majority in the legislature.
01-24-2021
Bob Bernard []
Vote No. Put more money into public schools. This is another easy to segregate schools by economic tier and race.
01-24-2021
Leah Kain []
I oppose SSB1065 as it takes away dollars from public schools. Taxpayer money is meant for public schools who serve all students regardless of race, religion, economic status, sexual orientation, etc. Pulling money from these schools will only widen the gap between subgroups of students who are already struggling, and taking away funding money from schools will put teachers and school leaders at an even higher disadvantage trying to provide the best education for all students that they can. As we have seen in other states, voucher programs hurt the education system, and will likely lead to even more teacher shortage problems. Please support public schools and their teachers and students by opposing SSB1065.
01-24-2021
Kate Boonstra []
Dear Education Subcommittee members: A stated intention of SSB 1065 is to give all families access to education of the highest quality for their children, regardless of income or ZIP code. However, this is already the mission of public education. Our states attention must remain on adequate funding for public schoolsnot diverting tax dollars to matters without public purpose, as with the measures included in this bill.Whether you call it school choice, vouchers, Student First Scholarships...the end result is that student academic achievement as well as issues related to equity, funding, and transparent governance are negatively affected. I urge the subcommittee to dismiss SSB 1065.
01-24-2021
Anson Kritsch []
I urge you to strongly oppose this bill. Tax dollars should be spent on public schools. Iowa has had a strong history of excellent public schooling, taking away funds will erode that legacy. This is not in the best interest of ALL Iowans and I would remind you that you all are to execute your service for all of us. Please do not destroy one of the best resources our state has in public education.
01-24-2021
James Craig [Sibley-Ocheyedan CSD]
As a taxpayer and district administrator, I am strongly opposed to SSB 1065. Over $65 million of public funds already go to private schools without oversight or transparency. Not one more dollar should be allocated. The Iowa Legislature and Iowa Department of Education set the rules public schools operate under. If public schools are that bad, dont divert funds to private schools; change the public school rules! If there is funding available to send to private schools, theres funding available for a 3.7% SSA increase to relieve the burden of budget guarantee on property tax owners. I urge the subcommittee not to pass SSB 1065 out to the full committee. Thank you for reading the concerns and for your service to the people of Iowa.
01-24-2021
Susan Helling []
Please vote NO to the Student First Scholarship program. I have proudly taught in both private and public schools in Iowa. I believe there are ways to support both, but that this program is NOT the way to do so responsibly with the tax dollars of hard working Iowans. SSB 1065 would divert money away from public schools who educate all Iowan children. This program would benefit a very few at the cost of many. It is not what is best for our state. Transparency and accountability must be part of the equation where tax dollars are concerned. I do not believe SSB 1065 responsibility adheres to that. Please vote NO!
01-24-2021
Tiffany Welch []
As a proud graduate of public schools, and a parent who has seen children turned away from private schools because the school wasnt able to help with a learning disability, Im appalled that the state would take funding away from public schools and give it private schools. Public schools have been underfunded for years, so why take even more money away to give to schools that dont have accountability for their students. Strong public schools benefit the community, state, and the future of our country. Investing in public schools helps employers have better employees. Families can still choose other education options, but dont harm public schools by taking funding away to give to private schools
01-24-2021
Teresa Miller []
Advancing school choice would be a mistake in Iowa that would set education and innovation back. The lack if oversight that would ensue if money was taken away from public schools would be enabling further inequity. Do your job to improve the public school, which serve the majority of students, and are accountable through school boards to their local taxpayers.
01-24-2021
Barbara Fuller []
I am urging you to not consider this bill. Instead of taking money from public schools by allowing the creation of vouchers and charter schools, using our public tax dollars, put money into our public schools to make them even better. Schools have been short changed and starved for many years under Republican rule. If a parent chooses to enroll their child in a private school, they should use their own money, not my tax dollars! Chapter schools in many states are a failure, not only to provide a decent education, but many close their doors leaving the students enrolled to need to reenroll in the public school system. They arent held accountable and can refuse admittance to struggling students. Our public schools open the door to everyone.The Iowa coin, First on the Nation in Education, has become a farce. Back when it was minted it was true, but not anymore due the the erosion of a once great system due to lack of funding and constant threats for vouchers and charter schools by the now majority party. Again, please vote no!
01-24-2021
Melanie Maddick []
I sent my children to nonpublic schools for PK8. When they arrived in high school and college they were equipped with the skills to succeed. We received no help in paying for this education but still paid taxes. I feel parents should be allowed to send their children to a school that fits their needs.
01-24-2021
Barbara Fuller []
I am urging you to not consider this bill. Instead of taking money from public schools by allowing the creation of vouchers and charter schools, using our public tax dollars, put money into our public schools to make them even better. Schools have been short changed and starved for many years under Republican rule. If a parent chooses to enroll their child in a private school, they should use their own money, not my tax dollars! Chapter schools in many states are a failure, not only to provide a decent education, but many close their doors leaving the students enrolled to need to reenroll in the public school system. They arent held accountable and can refuse admittance to struggling students. Our public schools open the door to everyone.The Iowa coin, First on the Nation in Education, has become a farce. Back when it was minted it was true, but not anymore due the the erosion of a once great system due to lack of funding and constant threats for vouchers and charter schools by the now majority party. Again, please vote no!
01-24-2021
Tina Thompson []
I strongly oppose this bill. Public funds should be used for public schools. We know from last year how vital it is to have school nurses in public schools to protect our medically vulnerable students (and staff). If there isn't enough money for meeting even basic medical needs, then I don't understand how diverting public funds to private schools can even be a possibility. Let's focus on making Iowa's public education system the best it can be for all Iowa students.
01-24-2021
Erica Whittle []
Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. Public schools are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. As an Iowa taxpayer, I have a right to know how school funds are being used. The publics investment in education should also be used to support public schools that are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. In my opinion, this bill is taking away the transparency I expect of my taxpayer dollars, this bill will also lead to greater inequity within our schools leaving our most vulnerable and atrisk students and families paying the cost. I do not support this bill for my own public school attending children or the rest of my community and the state of Iowa. Thank you for your time.
01-24-2021
Jean Goodner []
I am opposed to SSB 1065. This bill is supporting vouchers and scholarships using my tax dollars to support private education. That is not right. As a retired public school teacher who attended Iowa public schools as did my children, I do not want my tax dollars going to support private and charter schools. Public schools are overseen by elected citizen school boards and are required to publish annual audits showing expenditures as well as academic reports, unlike private schools. I can hold my public school accountable whereas private, religious, and charter schools are not held to this same standard. Where are you assuring accountability for taxpayer dollars? Education Saving Accounts are already funded by millions of my tax dollars to support nonpublic schools where there is no accountability and no safeguards. Public schools are required to accept all students while nonpublic schools are allowed to discriminate however they see fit. Public schools are the one place where students from all backgrounds, races, religious beliefs, economic levels, and educational needs learn how to interact with others different from themselves. They are not segregated into schools that can pick and choose the students they accept or refuse to let in the door. Iowa needs our students to learn those skills and practice them on a daily basis. Families have every right to attend the school of their choice but I am against using my tax dollars to fund them. Iowa law requires every student be provided a free education. It is paid for with everyones tax dollars so that can be done. Those who choose to use other options have that right, but their tax dollars should still go to support all children. Siphoning off badly needed tax dollars away from public schools to support private religious and charter schools under the guise of school choice does not guarantee improved learning in a safe environment. Do not vote to advance this bill.
01-24-2021
Lindsey Bruner []
I have been an educator and parent in both public and private schools. I whole heartedly object to this and believe it will be harmful to the students of Iowa for years to come. Instead of diverting funds away from already struggling public schools, we should be finding a way to ensure that every Iowa student is receiving the same educational opportunities at EVERY school in EVERY district. If we care about the students of Iowa, we should be fixing these fundamental problems, rather than giving some students an opportunity to escape them, leaving less fortunate students to suffer even more.
01-24-2021
Elizabeth Haertel []
I am disappointed that our legislature is attempting to take money away from struggling schools. Please do not move this bill forward! Public schools need more funding to thrive, not less. Public schools have a responsibility to educate all children, in stark contrast to private schools that are not required to educate all, regardless of ability, religion, etc. Public dollars need to stay with public schools and struggling schools should be supported instead of punished!
01-24-2021
Jamie Ehlert []
Calling a voucher a scholarship sounds like an opportunity: this is not true. Vouchers take money from public schools and give it to private schools who are not required to be transparent or equitable in their educational practices. Private schools do not have to take ALL students, which will then force large inequities and increase the learning gaps between students with different abilities. Iowas tradition of strong public schools deserves to be maintained.
01-24-2021
Tyson Smith []
Vote no on this bill to prevent public funding from being drained away from public schools. Those are the hearts of our communities and should not be gutted that way.
01-24-2021
Barbara Fuller []
I am urging you to vote no on this bill. Instead of taking public tax dollars to be spent on vouchers and charter schools, put that money in public schools to make them better. Stop starving them as has taken place over the years under Republican control. If parents want their child in a private school, they should pay for it with their private funds. Charter schools have been a disaster in so many states. They provide below average education without accountability or go bankrupt, closing and sending their students back into the public system. They dont admit all students like our public schools do. Our Foundation in Education coin no longer applies to our state . Public schools have been starved by the majority party for so many years, they are hurting, but that can be fixed by funding then adequately rather than taking money away from them.Please vote NO!
01-24-2021
Riley Anderson []
Iowas public schools are a source of pride in our state. Small, rural systems for education are the backbone of learning for a majority of the communities in our state. This bill would take resources from those areas and render those systems useless. If this bill is truly about the future of Iowas education systems and their effect on students, more resources would be allocated to our public schools, not taken away.
01-24-2021
Renee Bowman []
I am writing in opposition to establishing a student first scholarship program. If approved, this program would take our tax dollars from our public schools and give them to private institutions. As a public educator in our state for 30 years, I am already aware of the severe underfunding of our schools. I purchase materials for my First Grade classroom on a regular basis. I have been fortunate in having parents volunteer to bring supplies and we have a local church who brings in materials off of our wish lists. My own sister this year donated $50 to $75 worth of books to my classroom as she knows the struggles I have in obtaining supplies. How do we leave supplies for our children up to the generosity of others? Shouldn't it just be there for them? Another concern that I have is accountability. Public schools have to be accountable for testing and implementing interventions for our students. Private schools do not have to follow the same rules. It is concerning to me to give them our tax dollars and they don't have to answer to anyone. Last, but not least, my biggest concern with giving our tax dollars to private institutions is they may choose who they serve. As a public educator, I educate to the best of my ability anyone who comes through my classroom door. I educate the regular education students as well as students who receive extra services in their education. I educate students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. I educate everyone. Simply put, private institutions do not have to do this. They do not need to provide services to students who need more support and their tuition may not be covered by the scholarship money from the state, leaving out those who cannot pay the difference.Instead of trying to destroy our public schools, this is the time to work with them and make them stronger. This pandemic has been terribly difficult for public schools and all of this. However, this is the time we can make changes and not go back to "normal," but make improvements and to be better.Again, I ask you to vote against establishing a student first scholarship program. I ask you to invest in our public schools, Iowa's future.
01-24-2021
Jackie Sunde []
I was a public school teacher for 42 years. My tax dollars should go to public schools not private. The state doesnt allocate enough money the way it is to our public schools. I oppose this bill.
01-24-2021
Jocelyn Richards []
I oppose SSB1065!
01-24-2021
John Mertz [HOMEOWNER]
We need to keep our Public Schools strong. I no longer have kids in school, but Ipay taxes for public schools, not private. Please vote no on school vouchers.
01-24-2021
Melissa Rogers []
This reduces the ability and effectiveness of providing free education to ALL students. If parents choose another school, it should be up to the parents to cover that cost. We cant reduce inequities through decisiveness. In addition, private schools dont have to follow state guidelines or provide education to special needs students, which is discriminatory and diverting funding reduces public schools ability to provide adequate support to those students.
01-24-2021
Mallory Halverson []
Tax money should be used for public schools. Taking money from our public schools is a TERRIBLE idea and would be DEVASTATING for our schools!!
01-24-2021
Brenda Schumann []
To add to my previous comments in opposition to this bill, if tht is allowed.Public education costs have increased during this pandemic. Funds should be allocated so all public schools can have a school nurse. Democracy depends on good SAFE public schools.Thank you for your consideration,Brenda Schumann
01-24-2021
Alyssa Clayden []
Please vote NO to the Student First Scholarship program. As someone with extensive experience with both private and public schools, I believe believe both systems have value. However, this program is NOT the answer as it does not responsibly use the tax dollars of hard working Iowans. SSB 1065 plans to divert money away from public schools, decreasing access to a fundamental right of Iowa children. The Student First Scholarship program will benefit very few at the cost of many now and into the future. Iowa will suffer and become less competitive nationwide. It is not what is best for our state. Transparency and accountability must take place in all areas where tax dollars are concerned. I do not believe SSB 1065 does this. It is imperative the committee vote no.
01-24-2021
Bryon Owen []
For the next school year, the governor announced there will be a 2.5% increase to SSA, which would be around 20 million dollars. SSB 1065 has been proposed to give students that are in a failing school the option to go to the school of their choice. My question is, why instead arent we focusing on how we can help schools that are labeled as failing schools? If we are so worried about failing schools, why would we consider the 50 million or more this bill would cost instead of giving schools the funding that they need? Lets not do something that would only benefit 10,000 students. Iowa has always been proud of our public schools, so lets show that by supporting all schools by voting down SSB 1065.
01-24-2021
Mark Rosenbury [Retired]
Please vote NO on SSB 1065. Public funds should not be diverted from public education to fund private schools.
01-24-2021
Kathryn Robertson Hammer []
I am concerned that this bill will undermine the quality of our public schools. I do not feel that state education funding should go to schools that don't have to follow the same standards as public schools. We should be working to strengthen and provide more funding for our public schools, rather than creating a voucher system.
01-24-2021
Erica Eganhouse []
Public schools are already underfunded. Public school funding has NOT been increasing with appropriate inflation, as our governor falsely states. There are NOT states that vouchers have benefited. Private schools already separate the socioeconomic classes of students. A voucher "scholarship" program will only further segregate schools because those that can afford what's left of tuition and have means of tuition with use these vouchers, and families that cannot afford the remainder and/or don't have transportation needs do not get to choose. Seriously, I can't believe this needs to be explained. Are there teachers out there that will suddenly say, "oh, now I should start trying, we're losing students." No.
01-24-2021
Alyssa Maske []
Public funds need to stay with public schools. The public schools are already not receiving adequate funding that is necessary to provide the best education possible, meeting staffing needs for all students and so much more. This would only continue to harm public schools and would be a disservice to those who do not have an option for private schools whether it be due to adequate funding provided via this "scholarship" or location for students to actually take advantage of it.
01-24-2021
Jessica Anderson []
I am absolutely opposed to public dollars going to private schools, charter schools, etc. It doesnt matter if you call them vouchers, scholarships, or something else. There is no world in which any governing body should institute legislation that doesnt provide transparency and oversight of the use of taxpayer funds.Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board, are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures. If private schools are to receive taxpayer dollars they need to be held to the exact same standards. That means the publics investment should be used to support schools which are required to be open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status and disability. That means they cant turn away special Ed kids or kids with behaviors. That means taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used and if they are being used effectively and cannot be left in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds. Stop trying to slowly starve our public schools. Please be done with this nonsense and put this in the trash where it belongs.
01-24-2021
Felicia Murillo [Crossroads Elementary]
opposing SSB 1065 Public dollars should be used for public schools. As a public school teacher we are strapped enough trying to make it work for public school education this would take money away from us. I am all for parents chosing private schools, but that is their choice and they should pay for that. Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but NOT with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. WDMCS is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.
01-24-2021
Felicia Murillo []
Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. WDMCS is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.
01-24-2021
Dennis Coon [Reverend]
The state will be guilty of classism, showing prejudice against a certain class of people, if SSB1065 is passed. A family living under the poverty level in rural Iowa where their children might be attending an underachieving school district will not be afforded equal education because the state will be diverting funds from their school district in order to assist others with access to private education under SSB1065. The state should increase the funds given to an underachieving school district to help them rise above their deficiencies rather than divert those funds to a voucher system. SSB1065 will create inequality in Iowa public education.
01-24-2021
Doug Wheeler []
Public Education has long been a cornerstone of Iowa life and our communities. This dedication has resulted in some of the highest graduation and college entrance exam scores in the country. Iowa is respected for our public schools and those schools play a large role in quality of life for Iowans. Over the past two decades Iowa Schools have met the demands of increased student and family needs, onboarded new required programs and adjusted to increased assessment demands by the state and federal government. Schools have done this while continuing to trim budgets and create efficiencies. This program will definitely impact the future success and viability of public education in Iowa as it has done so many times in so many other states.We have school choice through open enrollment; therefore, this bill must be about the confidence the Senate Education Committee has in public schools, not desire for choice.Please consider the following all points backed by research and experience of other states in relation to Voucher programs:1. Private school vouchers undermine the states commitment to public education. 2. Private school vouchers do not improve academic achievement. 3. Private school vouchers do not provide the same accountability to taxpayers as public schools. 5. Private school vouchers fund discrimination with taxpayer dollars. 6. Private school vouchers can increase school segregation. 7. Private school vouchers are particularly harmful for students in need of greater resources. 8. Private school voucher programs do not save taxpayer money.
01-24-2021
Logan Maxwell []
This bill will destroy public schools, especially schools with Title 1 status.
01-24-2021
Molly Breedlove [WDMCS ]
I am a Dowling Catholic graduate and loved my high school experience. I am a proud member of the west Des Moines community school district, working at Valley High School, with my own kids in the district. Voting yes to this bill will take away from the strong public schools the state has built. I have nothing against private schools but do you believe they should be done through private funding and not put on the taxpayers backs. Systems like this in other states have reached havoc on public schools. We dont want that to happen to the amazing Iowa public schools we have right now.
01-24-2021
Susannah Crichton []
I urge this subcommittee to vote AGAINST this bill. Our public school system is in dire need of funding and our students deserve better education. We do NOT need to put more funding into private schooling and charter schools; while Reynolds deems it well and good for those who are underserved in our community, this bill will ultimately reduce their chances of a better education in the future, along with promoting a more segregated learning environment by preventing voluntary transfer bans.Please vote AGAINST this bill. This is not what our education system needs. Public schools need more funding, not less!
01-24-2021
Blake Clyde []
Public money should go toward public schools. There are many school districts in Iowa who are suffering as it is because of a lack of substantive funding. No taxpayers money should go toward subsidizing shipping children to schools outside of the Iowa Public Schools system.
01-24-2021
Amy Rueschenberg [Harlan Community School Board]
I am opposed to the voucher/scholarship program and therefore do not support this bill. This would be absolutely devastating to schools such as Harlan Community School District. Please do not move forward with this!
01-24-2021
Kristine Milburn []
I'm writing to ask that you oppose a permanent voucher system for Iowa students who attend public schools. The creation of such a system presents a slippery slope and may encourage significant inequity and lower education quality and standards for students.Student First Scholarships are the wrong public policy for Iowa and an inappropriate use of public tax dollars.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. Public schools are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.This bill forces public dollars to be used in ways that are not transparent nor in ways that follow true public policy. As well, this bill forces everyone in Iowa to support a system of private education that likely will lead to systemic inequities throughout Iowa.I thank you in advance for your careful consideration and for your ongoing support of highquality public education throughout Iowa.Kristine Milburn, EdD
01-24-2021
Jenna Hucka []
Education committee at the statehouse, PLEASE do NOT move this bill forward. I am opposed to school vouchers.
01-24-2021
Sorena Davis []
This is not a scholarship program. We have seen how voucher programs have crushed other states' schools. Iowa has been known for its education system and this would only drag Iowa farther down into the dredges of other unfortunately poorly managed school systems. Private schools are under no watch for how funding is spent. This is about equity of schooling in our amazing state. Don't let this stomp students down from achieving their dreams. I'm am wholeheartedly against this voucher system.
01-24-2021
Kelli Moore []
Please do not take public achool funding and privatize it for charter schools. It is difficult enough with limited budgets to do all needed to educate our kids. Please do not make things more difficult for teachers and districts.
01-24-2021
Kate Swanson []
I have taught in a Catholic school my entire teaching career, and now I am a Catholic school administrator. All families should have a choice in what kind of education they want their child to receive regardless of zip code or other restrictions. This is a good start in promoting the idea of educational savings accounts, but it could be even better when it comes to making nonpublic schools thrive and be accessible for all. Nonpublic schools are highly competitive options to their public school counterparts and they provide countless academic opportunities to grow in morals and values that even the best public schools cannot fully do. In the particular Catholic school I work in, our students average 67% higher on math and reading than the state average and local AEA region of public schools. We offer almost two dozen fine arts, athletic, and leadershiprelated activities and have a 100% graduation rate. Ninetyseven percent of our graduates attend college, and according to various statistics, minority children are statistically more likely to graduate from high school and college when they attend a Catholic school. Everyone just wants their child to have the best education possible, and while the government may have its hands tied in some ways when it comes to supporting nonpublic and religious schools, it needs to look for ways it can allow freedom of choice in the matter and not hinder families who make that choice for their family. Nonpublic schools save tax payers millions of dollars and equally have a multimillion dollar economic impact on the communities in which they thrive. Supporting nonpublic schools only helps our families, communities, and nation in countless ways. They are an ally in moving our nation forward in progress, morality, and social values. They are not the enemy. I pray you, our elected legislators, remember that as you deliberate on educationrelated legislation that can impact nonpublic schools, employees, and their families. Thank you for your time and consideration.
01-24-2021
Darin Jones [AHSTW Community School District]
Public education strives to provide a first class learning environment for ALL students every day. Of course challenges face us during these days, but students are learning and growing in our classrooms through the tremendous efforts of our staff members and families. Now, SF 1065 is designed to divert monies from public school districts and their efforts to ensure the necessary levels are support are present to provide the appropriate opportunities to over 94% of Iowa students. We should not divert public funds to limit those opportunities for private use.We also recognize that public schools are open to ALL students without discrimination based on race, socioeconomic status, or disability. We are designed to promote the growth of each and every child. The same can not be said of private schools, as admission requirements can be implemented and limit the number of students in their care. Again, public funds should not pay for those practices when accountability measures are not expected.In the end, public dollars are designed for public use and not to develop the privatization of an entity. The shift of dollars to a voucher system does just that.Respectfully,Darin Jones
01-24-2021
Craig Malmberg []
I strongly support the voucher proposal. I have been a substitute teacher, bus Driver and school associate in couple districts. My retirement jobs after 30 years working in the prisons.Ive had children grand children in public and private. The private system much more efficient. The recent Decision of DSM to LOCK children out of schools is one of most harmful government decisions Ive ever witnessedThank you
01-24-2021
Joni Larsen []
I cannot fathom how SSB 1065 would negatively impact our public schools. The reasons are endless (as posted by so many others already). DO WHAT IS RIGHT for both the tax payers and the future of Iowa Public Schools.
01-24-2021
Jesse Richardson-Jones []
I am the parent of a child in public schools, writing in opposition to SSB 1065. Public money belongs in public schools, subject to the transparency and oversight that taxpayers rightly expect. Private and parochial schools lack this oversight and should not be funded with tax payer money that is meant for public education. There is no evidence that implementing this bill would improve schools in Iowa. On the contrary, states around the country that have implemented voucher systems like those proposed in this bill also have among the lowest rated schools in the country. This bill is also dangerous for Iowas rural communities and threatens to close many local schools and impose undue hardships on rural communities already bearing a huge burden. Governor Reynolds claims that vouchers will give Iowas parents more choices. That may be true for a small proportion of parents who prefer parochial education or have the privilege to choose private education for their childrens education. But for the vast majority of Iowa parents who want to see our public schools thrive, this bill narrows our choices and further erodes our educational choices during an already incredibly trying time. Please vote to protect the future of Iowas school children: vote no on this bill.
01-24-2021
Megan Thole []
Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. WDMCS is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.
01-24-2021
Judith Jensen []
NO! No school vouchers/scholarships that seek to undermine our public schools! This is a chance for you to stand up for all your constituents, not just white upperclass ones who would use those school vouchers/scholarships to keep their children away from our diverse communities' children. This is a chance for you to stand up for children whose religions are not mainstream. They deserve a great education from our public schools too. Taking away money and giving it to schools that preach one religion that fits the white Christian ideal is wrong. It is unAmerican, remember? Support public schools. NO NO SCHOLARSHIPS that re really vouchers.
01-24-2021
Paula Thome []
Committee MembersI would like to voice opposition to these bills. As a tax payer, I support Iowa's PUBLIC schools. I do not want my tax dollars diverted to private schools.
01-24-2021
Josh Blomker [Teachers from Waterloo Community School District ]
I have never seen a worse idea of vouchers to students. Instead of doing that why not fund public schools like they should be. No full time employees should have to have a second job just to make it. So also the money that this bill says when everything is done and there is money left over for teacher pay can be used some place else. Why not pay the teachers and paras instead? Considering that is what the money is for.
01-24-2021
Sheena Thomas [Sheena Thomas Metalsmith LLC]
The effect of this bill as it stands is cruel to children all over Iowa, but especially to rural children. Without schools, small towns are losing population. Without schools, they are losing identity. Without schools they are losing the small businesses that make up the heart of the communities. Public education serves all children, and excludes none. With the fact that public schools have been faced with budget cuts for years, this bill is a killer. As has been pointed out, this bill provides $5000 for students attending private schools and $40 for students attending public schools. This is a sinful act.Iowa has prided itself on having a highly educated populace. Public education is what binds us together as a citizenry, knowing all Iowa students get similar curriculum. It provides a citizenry that knows its history and the roots of American values laid out in the Constitution, why that Constitution has been amended and is a living document, and a citizenry that can vote with shared knowledge.
01-24-2021
Chris Cronbaugh [Citizen of Iowa]
I have lived in Iowa my entire life and am disappointed with the way ideology has been emphasized, and pragmatism and common sense has been ignored, when it comes to our schools. Our schools increasingly have become chips in a game many in the state dont want to play. It is shortsighted and damaging to do this. I urge you to reject and defeat Senate Study Bill (SSB) 1065. This bill includes provisions that would be detrimental to Iowa's public schools. Establishing a voucher program, even in this limited capacity, will lead to decreased funding for our public schools. Public tax dollars should be used to fund public schools. And ONLY public schools. Rather than diverting tax dollars to private entities, it is imperative to provide our public school with the resources they need. Public school funding has not kept up with costs in recent years. Our public schools need additional funding, not fewer resources. This legislation does not address the needs of the VAST MAJORITY of Iowa families. The establishment of charter schools also serves to reallocate resources away from serving ALL students to serving the few. Charter schools have little accountability to the public. While public tax dollars provide their funding, there is not necessarily oversight by the local, publicly elected Board of Directors in that school district. This gives control of tax dollars to a few people, who may not be representative of the local school district. SSB 1065 does not serve the families of Iowa and we encourage you to vote no on this legislation.
01-24-2021
Daniel Stoa []
This bill will divert resources from the schools that need it the most. This is a direct contradiction to the message being reported from governor Reynolds and the Republicans in power. What evidence are you using to show that this will create better outcomes? If the reason isnt about outcomes what is it about? Please reconsider treating the education of our children as a collective responsibility. Creating a culture of competition for students will only create winners and losers. Collectively we can do so much more if we work together with trust and personal mastery.I strongly oppose this bill and graciously ask you to reconsider it.
01-24-2021
Polly Antonelli []
I stand in opposition to SSB 1065.I am a retired substitute teacher at Southeast Polk Community School District (SEP).I taught in classrooms that were pathetically poorly supplied. A junior high science classroom did not have textbooksfor every student, just a set for the classroom. Also. Those textbooks were 10+ years old and in poor condition, some with covers fallen off, some with pages missing. In talking with teachers in that area, this classroom was not unique.Allowing public funds to go to any nonpublic school is WRONG. Nonpublic schools lack the oversight, accountability,and transparency that public schools' spending is mandated to provide. This is fiscally irresponsible as well as unfair to public school students, staff, administrators, and parents.
01-24-2021
Craig Walter []
Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. WDMCS is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.
01-24-2021
Geoffrey Kaiser [Marquette Catholic Schools]
The primary goal of a State educational program is to ensure that every student be able to receive quality instruction. Schools vary in philosophy, resources, and size. While one student may do well in a large school another may struggle. Especially during these times where parents are facing financial hardships caused by Covid19, it just makes sense to allow parents to determine the school that best fits their child regardless of their income or financial situation. Whether it be to a private school or public school, the funding for the child's education should be provided to the school to where that child is being educated. Failing to support initiatives that provide all schools and students will equitable services ignores the primary goal of any strong and lasting educational department.
01-24-2021
Holly Meagher []
At a time when our state legislature claims there are not sufficient funds available to adequately support public schools, it is unconscionable to suggest funding for private schools. Private schools are not accountable to public standards. In my experience during 25+ years as a public educator, students who come from private schools in our state are woefully prepared in most academic areas. Furthermore, some private schools exist to indoctrinate students in beliefs that should not be funded by public taxpayers. I understand that legislators are concerned when their constituents demand that their children are in school during this worldwide pandemic. However, the answer is to utilize public funding to test and vaccinate public school employees and provide incentives for substitute teachers in our schools. It is not to spend taxpayer money without adequate accountability for those dollars. I ask you to be fiscally conservative and spend our money wisely.
01-24-2021
Christie Brookes [AFSCME Local #2023]
This bill will further harm public education. I will not support this or anyone who votes in favor of it. Public schools are struggling and are surviving on a shoe string budget.
01-24-2021
Christie Brookes [AFSCME Local #2023]
This bill will further harm public education. I will not support this or anyone who votes in favor of it. Public schools are struggling and are surviving on a shoe string budget.
01-24-2021
Richard Sloan []
I've paid property taxes for 40 years to support PUBLIC education. I've never complained about supporting my COMMUNITY, though I've never had children of my own to send. Now I'm supposed to be happy with the State stealing funds from my local schools? I am totally opposed to taking my funding of PUBLIC schools to fund PRIVATE and/or RELIGIOUS education.
01-24-2021
Karen Sissel []
The Iowa I grew up in was known for its strong public education. After seeing cuts from public schools happen every year for the past 20, the underfunding the public schools has to stop. Funding taken away from public schools for private schools will be the end of quality education because the funding will not be able to sustain the teachers, supplies, and supports needed. The poorest students still wont have a choice because they wont be able to provide transportation to and from these schools of choice. This is an attack on our rights to an equitable education for our students. Im embarrassed by these actions and pray you vote them down!
01-24-2021
Renee Pedersen []
As an individual with several relatives that are employed or were employed by a public school system, the proposed bill SSB 1065 is not a good step forward for the State of Iowa. The family members I speak to tell me how underfunded public schools in the State are already. Taking funds earmarked for these schools would put schools already stretched to their very end over the top. You are thinking of providing millions of dollars for only a very limited amount of students. That is not how you put Iowa schools on top again. This money is for public education not private education. Parents chose to send their children to private school. These schools are PRIVATE. They do not accept everyone. Private. schools do not want everyone in there schools. How can public money put into an entity that the public is not welcome into? I highly doubt is the Netherlands Reformed School in my town would accept my Catholic grandson as a student as the same for Western Christian in Hull, IA. This bill is a bill benefiting a few by taking money that is needed by many. The State has been so stingy the past year with funds for education, any further cuts would be devastating. This a bad idea and should not even be considered.
01-24-2021
Nicolle Phifer []
I am opposed to SSB1065. I believe public dollars should be used for public schools and I do not want my tax dollars being used towards funding private/religious schools. Not to mention the lack of transparency on how that money is actually used. If a person wants to send their child to a private school, they should be prepared to provide the funds themselves. We should be proud of Iowa's history of excellent public education and we should be providing more funding for schools, not less, which has been happening for years. 94% of Iowa's students are educated in public schools. Invest in those students.
01-24-2021
Kelsey Flattery []
Please do not support this bill. It will take away muchneeded money from public schools. Funding for public schools should not be sent to private schools that are not required to be equitable or transparent in their practices.
01-24-2021
Mark Haufle []
This bill could be damaging to small schools, because it would divert resources from rural to urban areas. Although we have relatively few private school options in our area, funds would be shifted to more populated areas that have a wider variety of parochial and private schools. This is problematic because private schools are not held to the same standards as public schools. They are not required to have publicly elected Boards and are not subject to state reporting or financial requirements. They are not bound by open meeting and records requirements. They are not obliged to serve all students, regardless of disability, race, gender, or socioeconomic status, as public schools must do. Ultimately, they are not held to the same level of accountability and transparency as other entities receiving state funds.
01-24-2021
James Loos []
This is not right! I worked in public/state funded educational institutions since 1960 until my retirement four years ago. It has always been a concern that public money was being given to any other educational institutions, private or parochial. Those institutions obviously serve a specific need, but they should not be given public money. Thank you for considering my opinion!
01-24-2021
Gary Roberts [Retired Public School Teacher]
As a retired school teacher (32 years of experience0, I find it unfathomable that such a ridiculous bill is even being considered. These are public funds that need to be used for public education, not private education. For years now the Iowa Legislature has been underfunding public education, and you wonder why schools in Iowa are not as successful as they were 4050 years ago? It's not rocket science, people. You have to put money into public education for the schools to succeed. By appropriating money for private schools out of public funds, you are only going to create more problems. Whose crazy idea was this? It makes NO SENSE whatsoever. Please vote against this and show some common sense.
01-24-2021
Maribeth Wright [Norwalk School Board ]
Dear Honorable Senators Please vote NO for SSB 1065 for school vouchers. The first scholarship program is an inappropriate use of public tax dollars. Iowa families should have a choice to send their students to a private or religious school but not with state tax dollars. State tax funds should be used to finance quality public education that is available to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status and disability. These funds should not be used for a new entitlement program for parents who choose private education. This limited voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. The community members of Norwalk value our school district and SSB 1065 will pull critical financial resources away from our district and community. Sincerely Maribeth WrightPresident, NCSD
01-24-2021
Mary Hayward []
Wow, if only you would try to improve schools. This is abandonment of societys responsibility to educate our children. Please get your heads out of your sandbox.
01-24-2021
Ann Gale []
I believe that SSB 1065 is unfair to the 96% of Iowa students who attend public schools. This bill is one more attempt to divert public money into private schools and Independent Private Instruction. Iowa taxpayers already provide a lot of money for nonpublic schools in the way of reimbursement for textbooks, transportation, and tuition tax credits. Iowa is one of only 5 states that provide this level of support. SSB 1065 would make Iowa even more extreme. Public schools are open to all, whereas private schools often deny admission because of discipline or achievement, and they exclude students with disabilities. Public schools are required to be accountable, but private schools do not have to publicly release test scores, dropout rates, or other basic information. Records show that students in voucher programs perform no better than public students. I ask that you oppose SSB 1065.
01-24-2021
Zoey Baker [Inman Elementary School]
This bill is extremely damaging to small schools in Iowa, such as the school I work in. It would divert resources from already struggling rural areas to urban areas. It seems as though this bills intent is to create further struggles for small Iowa schools. As Im hoping you already know, private schools are not held to the same standards as public schools. Meaning they are not required to serve all students, which should be every educator and lawmakers goal. If you care at all about rural Iowa schools, the educators that work and risk their lives everyday there, or the students being served there, you will not pass this extremely harmful bill that our governor has proposed. Sincerely, A frustrated Iowa Educator
01-24-2021
SueAnn Crouse [449]
Members of the subcommittee, I wrote to you today urging you to not support the Governors plan to supply scholarships for student choice. As a parent of a child living in the rural community of Red Oak, I lose sleep over all of the ways this will harm my childs education as well as the community in which we live, work, volunteer and love. Allowing children to choose their school will place public funds in schools that do not fall under the same set of expectations or accountability as our public schools. You are creating a larger divide between the haves and have nots, not walk dangerously close to a line of allowing recruitment to happen for athletes, students who excel in the fine arts, as well as academia. It is a constitutional right to receive a free and public education and our public dollars should be used to equip our public schools to give all children the best education we can and that cannot happen if you support this cause. If we, as Iowans, want to climb back to the top of the charts in academic success, this bill will actively work against that cause. I beg you, for the well being of our already struggling rural communities, do not support this bill. In fact, please actively urge your fellow committee members to vote against it as well. Signed, an already tired, overworked, under paid, emotionally exhausted educator.
01-24-2021
Teresa Baustian [citizen]
I am writing to the subcommittee and Education committee members to express my opposition to SSB 1065. I was fortunate to have been a product of the Iowa public schools at a time when public education was valued and funded adequately. Each year, Iowans could take pride in where Iowa ranked, among all of the states. As I recall, Iowa was in the top 3 in those days. Iowa has not fared as well, since the Iowa legislature has begun defunding public schools. We're down in the middle of the pack, now. With this bill, the goal appears to be to land a death blow to the public education system which at present provides the education to over 500,000 Iowa children, by siphoning tens of millions of dollars away from them, even as it bestows as much as $50 million to the private school students who are the beneficiaries of this bill. There is data reflecting how narrow the fiscal margins are in many rural school districts. If but a hand full seek a voucher, the consequence to the rural district may be closure of buildings and further consolidation. Perhaps that should be debated by the legislature, but it doesn't seem to have been a thought by the proponents of this bill. Where there are no schools, a community is just not a place for families. Along with the destruction of public education, this bill also appears to have the objective of hollowing out rural Iowa. Please defeat this bill.
01-24-2021
Christen Nicoll []
The benefits of school vouchers are that schools listens to parents, students, and policymakers as it creates a competition between schools for students. This would encourage schools to be innovative and driven to attract and maintain student enrollment. The opposition is that school choice can be known for expanding the socioeconomic status (SES) gap between families. Parents must make these decisions on schools and sometimes they have insufficient data (Rauch, 2015). Due to lack of time for families, especially families with low SES, some parents do not have the time and financial stability to choose an adequate school and transport the child there. Schools gaining students will gain more resources and succeed. Schools who lose students will lose resources and eventually will close. Closing a school negatively affects the neighborhood and community surrounding it and will perpetuate the SES gap. Finally, I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds. The voucher program will provide an opportunity that religion does integrate with schools again because of the option of private schools. If public schools were to close because students are moving to private schools, students will have little choice but to attend schools with religious affiliations and thus limiting our 1st amendment right. Therefore, I do not believe that this program is in the best interest of our children in Iowa.Christen NicollK4 General Music TeacherRauch, D. (2015). School Choice Architecture. Yale Law & Policy Review, 34(1), 187198.
01-24-2021
Shannon Johnson []
As a proud Iowa public school graduate and current public school parent and teacher, I am strongly opposed to SSB 1065. Iowa's tradition of strong public schools deserves to be expanded, not demolished by legislation like this. Calling a voucher a "scholarship" sounds like an opportunity, but that is not true. Vouchers divert public money from public schools and instead give that money to private schools that are not held to the same levels of transparency, accountability, equity. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Furthermore, this bill is costly and serves only a few Iowa students while its impacts would negatively affect many more. Unfortunately, the effects would be greatest for our poorest and most vulnerable students. Money for a "scholarship" wouldn't be enough to pay tuition or provide transportation to a different school, should one even be available. Many of the beneficiaries of this legislation will be those who can already afford a private school education, something families may choose to do for religious or other reasons. That choice is one I can support. What I can't support is the diversion of public funds from public schools to support that choice. Most importantly, public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools that serve ALL students regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and disability. Private schools are not held to those same standards.I urge Iowa legislators to make educational investments that serve the interests of all students. Let's instead invest in more teachers, paraeducators, mental health professionals, and community partnerships that help support the basic needs of our students. Those investments will build up our schools, best meet the needs of all students, and build on the tradition of strong public schools that are the foundation of a strong society. This bill will not support those aims in the long run. Please do not support it. Thank you. Shannon Johnson
01-24-2021
Lisa Stange []
This is not the way to support education for all students. Pulling away significant public funding to private schools that can choose who they enroll will not help with the issues we are facing. PLEASE reconsider where our PUBLIC EDUCATION dollars are going. They should be supporting PUBLIC schools to help them deal with these equity issues for all students. Instead, dollars should be used to support hiring more educators and paraeducators and purchasing more needed equipment to use for virtual supports in addition to equipment needed for face to face instruction in those districts who are having difficulty meeting the needs of their student population. Moving students away from those districts that need the help versus helping them meet the needs is not meeting the needs of EVERY CHILD in our state and only creates a larger gap that in turn, affects our communities and state in the long run. Many years ago, our state public education was the envy of most states. We have not kept up with the needs for all districts and this would be another big set back for our state.
01-24-2021
Julie Landstrum [Norwalk Community School]
Please do not pass or support this bill.
01-24-2021
Alene Rickels []
I do not support SSB 1065. As a retired public school teacher, this is insulting and detrimental to public schools. I am an advocate for public schools. I believe all students are entitled to a free education. Please support and fund public education.
01-24-2021
Cindy Bassett []
My hope is that our representatives do not send this bill forward. Iowa's schools have proven themselves with low dropout rates, high graduation rates, and progressive education programs. The first two rates are proven through numbers, and the final point (educational programs) can be seen by school leaders and teachers coming to Iowa to join our school systems and learn from our programs. Iowa is a leader in education now. If charter school programs are promoted and funded, this takes important funding away from schools that are already hurting, especially during this tough time. Charter schools mean dividing funding and community supports, which is not what Iowa is about. Iowa's communities have traditionally revolved around schools, with families and educators building partnerships. This is best for our youth. Adding in charter programs divides communities and leaves behind multiple, weaker schools. Instead, let's stay focused on the work of collaboratively making our school systems strong, with resources, partnerships, and progressive practices.Thank you.
01-24-2021
Peter Licht []
Public money belongs in public schools. Period. This attempting to use isolated incidents in our schools to make them sound less 'safe' is a poor argument.We have good schools.I am an educator and proud to be.No $ is not the sole solution to every problem, but it helps.Research shows that the #1 factor for student achievement is class size/teacher to student ratio. If you want higher achieving students, hire more teachers (reduce class size) and pay teachers a professional wage. Having students prepared for school is important.Not just preschool, but parents who value education and are supportive of our schools/educators.Parents who 'choose' private/parochial schools can pay for making that choice, or those schools should be held to every rigorous standard that public schools are held accountable for. Also, if one is so serious about 'choice let's extend it to women's reproductive rights as well.Over the airwaves, we have access to 'free' TV and radio programming. If you are not happy, you are free to choose (and pay for) cable or satellite options don't expect to be subsidized.
01-24-2021
Lucinda Butler []
Strong public schools build strong communities. Public funding of education should be for public schools. Vote "No" on public funding of private education.
01-24-2021
Anita Douglas []
As an educator in a suburban Iowa public school, I urge you to reconsider SSB 1065. Many things included in this bill are clearly not in the best interest of students or families not to mention the tax paying public. Private schools already do not have to educate students with IEPs at their own expense. State funding does not even come close to meeting the Special Education expenses districts face, especially in Title 1 schools. Rural schools and some struggling urban schools will face increased difficulties in being able to provide adequate staffing and curriculum options due to the loss of funding sent to private schools. The inequity in options between rural students and suburban students will continue to grow because charter schools are built for profit so they are not likely to be built in low population areas. Transportation and child care challenges will still prevent lower income families from accessing charter schools, much like these same families struggle with participating in extra programs at their current schools. Excusing charter and private schools from diversity plans, data collection and required programming surely makes investors smile because you know they are out for a profit and will cut what they can to line their pockets. These practices will certainly widen the achievement gap and increase inequities in taxpayer funded schools. All of this smacks of elitism instead of an honest approach to help increase achievement in lower performing school districts for ALL Iowa students. Even the teacher out of pocket expenditure is far from what teachers actually spend and what teachers will continue to spend to spend to bring opportunities to their students while the State continues to pad their "rainy day" fund. I would have hoped that the pandemic would have allowed time for more thoughtful "gamechanging" legislation rather than this compilation of discriminatory ideas packaged as "students first." If that were truly the case, you would be thinking about ALL students and have included the Department of Education, educators and students in the conversation.
01-24-2021
Barbara Dale []
As alumni of Iowa's public schools, my husband Jim and I, as well as our three adult children, regret deeply the decline of those schools from a time period when they were acknowledged as the best in the nation.Evidence suggests the decline has followed the state legislature's decreasing support. SSB 1065 would exacerbate that situation, and we therefore oppose it strongly.Public education's goal to educate all students equally regardless of their individual circumstances effectively enhances the state's sense of community and citizenship. Some exceptions have always existed in the name of freedom of choice, but when those exceptions leave the majority of students insufficiently supported in their development, we must object.Please oppose SSB 1065 as currently presented.Thank you.
01-24-2021
Pamela Mohr []
I am a lifelong Iowan who attended both public and private schools in the Des Moines area. I am raising three children who currently attend our great public school system. I am writing to ask that you do not support SSB 1065. Vouchers are wrong for Iowa for the following reasons:1) Rules and transparency must follow taxpayer money.2) Iowa students already outperform the states with vouchers.3) Vouchers pull valuable resources out of rural schools.4) Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund schools that can discriminate based on disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status and religious preference. Public funds should remain with public schools. Attending a private school is a personal family choice that my taxpayer dollars should not fund. Thank you for your time and effort to ensure Iowa's public schools are strong, adequately funded, and remain equitable for all. Support of this bill will show that you are turning your back on the many marginalized students and families in our state, that you do not support equitable and just education for ALL students in Iowa.
01-24-2021
jack kimberley []
No way should public funds be used to support private schools, if parents choice is to send their kids to a private school they can pay the tuition!
01-24-2021
Angie Johnson [Board President, RRMR CSD]
Why the governors proposal for vouchers is wrong for Iowa:Use public dollars for public schools. Period. The publics investment should be used to support public community schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status and disability, not for a new entitlement program for parents who choose private education.Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board, are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same public standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used, but are left in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.Please help us save rural school districts, a priceless gem in Iowa!Regards,Angie Johnson
01-24-2021
Tyler Harper []
The timing and reasoning for this just doesnt make sense. Charter schools do not perform any better or worse than traditional public schools. They do, however, have a history of dividing schools into those that have and those that have nothing. The actual, on the ground, collective data says that they serve no purpose other than to provide a way for private companies to use public funds. Additionally...I have no problem with public funds going to private schools...as long as those schools then have to have open enrollment, no limitations based on religious or social differences, and the same curriculum standards as public schools. They should not be able to force compulsory religious education on students using the vouchers.
01-24-2021
Kathy Quinlan []
Please listen to the comments given to you here and do what is right for Iowa. Public funds should go to public schools!!
01-24-2021
Johanys Alvarez []
Good morning!Please be open to different views and opinions. Consider keeping hybrid options to keep everyone safe. As a teacher and a mom I am really concern on having everyone together. This will pass, this will not be here forever but maybe many lives are going to be gone with this pandemic. God bless you and guide you!
01-24-2021
Guadalupe Kollasch []
I m strongly opposed to using public funds as a scholarship or voucher proton SS1065 so students can attend private schools. Private and religious schools are not held to the same standards. Secondly, public schools struggle financially already because of the limited and small funding given to them by you, the legislature. Funds should be increasing to our public schools not giving an opportunity to pull funds away from them as this bill would do. I
01-24-2021
Kara Vorwald []
The voucher system harms our public schools and defunds our childrens education. This bill is harmful to our kids and communities.
01-24-2021
Lisa Harris []
This bill will leave public education in an even bigger mess than it is financially. Gov Reynolds is mad at school districts not face to face. That should not penalize all of Iowa.
01-24-2021
Patricia A Hopes []
I strongly oppose this bill. Iowa has excellent public schools. If parents want to change schools, they have that option through open enrollment. No public money should support nonpublic schools. If parents want charter schools or private schools for their children, it should come out of their dime, not mine or other taxpayers. This would cause fewer public tax dollars to support public schools which have been underfunded for years as has the funding to teachers, even though more and more has been expected of them.This is wrong for Iowa. Please use your common sense and veto this bill.
01-24-2021
Dawn Carico []
I am writing to oppose school vouchers. I am a product of the diverse DMPS and I am a public school teacher. We need reform that builds public education for all students, families and communities to make our society strong. I urge you to educate yourselves on the issues and vote against school vouchers that lessen education for all.
01-24-2021
Dee Priske []
I, as an educator, do not support the funding for private schools. Public schools work hard to educate their students.
01-24-2021
Susie Hines []
Dear Committee Members, I am opposed to SB1065. As taxpayers in Iowa, we need accountability with education funds which public schools provide. Rules and transparency must follow ALL education dollars. Vouchers/scholarships/ESA or however you word these funds, will pull valuable resources from our schools. Please consider my input and concerns. Thank you for your service. Susie Hines
01-24-2021
Beth Sloan []
As an Iowa resident and a public school employee, I am very concerned that this legislative bill is even being considered. How can funding be stripped from public schools in our state? I agree that choice is powerful but taking money away from the most important structure in our state is a slap in the face of parents, educators and most importantly students. I want to remind you that your decisions in this matter are huge! We already are dealing with difficult funding decisions, year after year and now you are debating on taking money further away from our public education system. As you consider your actions, please know that you are always welcome into classrooms to see first hand the magic of public education. I urge you to reconsider anything related to this Student First Scholarship Fund, Charter School expansion and this proposed open enrollment law. Please call me anytime for more information and to hear about the exciting things happening in our public schools. I urge you to be cautious about every aspect of this bill!Beth Sloan
01-24-2021
Michelle Zaugg []
I attended public school growing up and choose to send our three children to private school. There are advantages to both. We were fortunate to be able to send our children to a school that we thought was best for them. It was a sacrifice and very hard at times. I have spoke to many families who wish they could have sent their children to a private/different school to fit the needs of their child but were not able to due to financial reasons. The best thing we can do as a state is invest in our children. Allowing families to pick the school that provides the best resources and learning environment for their children is crucial. Every family should have this choice no matter what their income or zip code is. Please consider supporting this new bill to allow families to pick the education that best fits their student. What a great way to invest in our youth! Thank you.
01-24-2021
Kathleen McElligatt []
It was distressed to learn that the Iowa Republicans are more concerned about private schools than they are public schools. No tax dollars should ever be spent on private schools. Iowa always had a strong public school system and you are trying to dismantle it. Stop with trying to allocate our tax money to private schools.
01-24-2021
Nicole Hildenbrand-Elgin []
I respectfully ask that this bill be removed for consideration. While the scholarship funds provided by this bill may be used towards education and assistance of a youth with disabilities, private schools are not required by law to accommodate disabled youth. There is no guarantee that a private school will accept the request of hiring a paraprofessional to assist a disabled youth and there are no consequences to the private school for denial of services. I am concerned that money designated for public schools will be redirected to private schools adversely affecting the quality of education being provided to our disabled students. I am a mother of a child with cerebral palsy who relies heavily on assistance provided in an IEP. Ankeny has a large number of disabled students who rely heavily on IEP accommodations. Please reconsider the ramifications that passing this bill would have on ALL our youth. Thank you.
01-24-2021
Laura Boggs []
I strongly oppose SSB1065. Public money is for public schools and education for ALL. The state does not need to be supporting private education. In a country with growing disparity we need to focus on providing for EVERY student, not just a select few. The State's Diversity Plan should also remain intact to reduce inequities, to prevent economic and racial segregation. Public schools need more investment, not less. I have four children in public school and part of the reason we live in Iowa is access to a strong public education.
01-24-2021
Stacey N []
I am not in support of this bill, as undercutting Iowa public schools is bad for all Iowans. Public money should go to public schools, and not to private and charter schools held to little/no accountability.
01-24-2021
Carolyn Rathjen []
Public funds should support public education. This bill will harm students in rural districts, as well as many schools districts across the state. I ask you to consider; what is your honest purpose for this bill? Private schools do not have to follow the same rules as public schools. They should not be supported by tax dollars.
01-24-2021
Janice Arthur []
As a constituent of your Iowa State Senate district and as a veteran public educator, I urge you to consider the negative impact SSB 1065 will have on Iowa's long tradition of strong public school systems.Every statefunded move to transfer public school funding to private and charter schools threatens the foundations of the free public school system that is essential to our democracy. Statefunded scholarship programs, tax exemptions and credits, and charter school programs transfer resources from public schools that are dedicated to serving ALL students to families with the resources to abandon the schools in their district of residence. Johnston, the district where I work and where my sons have been educated, is a highachieving, affordable school system that makes the northwest region of the Des Moines metropolitan area a highly desirable place for families to live and work. Please do not undermine our schools by supporting SSB 1065 when it appears in front of the subcommittee this week.
01-24-2021
Cecilia Norris [Norris]
I strongly oppose this bill. I am so disappointed by how underfunding and undermining public schools in Iowa has lead to such a decline in state rankings. I attended public school in Northwest Iowa 3545 years ago which prepared me well to follow my dreams of becoming a physician. I was so impressed with the public education, reasonable cost of living and ease of life in Iowa, that I was able to convince my husband, (also a physician who has brought millions of dollars in grants to the state of Iowa) to settle here to raise our children. I am so sad that my daughters have no plans to return to Iowa to live as more restrictive laws against women's control over their own bodies, lack of concern for the lives of anyone after they are born, and continued underfunding of state education and social safety net programs have made it a less attractive place to raise children. Voucher systems have been shown to adversely affect the most vulnerable students. This is not what we need in the state of Iowa right now.
01-24-2021
Andrew Finke []
I am opposed to this bill. I don't think the pros of vouchers outweigh the cons.
01-24-2021
Sheryl Slegers []
Private schools are vital to the education of Iowas children. They save tax payers thousands of dollars by their existence. There would not be enough schools or teachers without them. Parents of children who attend private school pay taxes . It is only fair that some of those dollars support children whose parents would need a different choice for their childs education. The majority of private schools are excellent and non exclusive. The parents, grandparents and friends sacrifice financially and do not begrudge paying taxes. This bill would provide help so that parents could truly have a choice whether public or private. Our local public school is excellent but there are places where they are not and it isnt fair to leave children stuck. has also been shown that there is not a mass exodus from public schools with helps in place. Both benefit. And work together. Of greatest importance is that all Iowa children benefit. Please consider again how this bill may help them. Thank you!
01-24-2021
Sandi Tollari []
Dismantling public education is simply trying to legalize white supremacy. Whats legal is not always what is moral. Every Iowan counts, not just the ones who can afford nicer things. Support public education! Support every Iowan.
01-24-2021
Elizabeth Akers []
I do not support vouchers. We need our tax dollars supporting our public schools and need our public schools to remain strong in order to ensure ALL Iowa children have access to a high quality education.
01-24-2021
Alicia Claypool []
Oppose SSB 1065 which would severely weaken public schools. Taxpayer funds should be used to benefit public school students. Oppose tuition tax credits and other subsidies for private school students and vouchers. Do NOT dismantle the Diversity Plans of urban districts which protect the financial stability of urban districts, help our students learn to live, work and play with people not like themselves (something we all need to learn to do to function in a diverse world) and mitigate white flight.
01-24-2021
Karolynn Roehr []
I am not in favor of this. First taking tax money from public schools & then allowing tax deduction for private school expenditures. Iowa at one time had public schools that were the envy of other states. We need to use tax money to build them up not destroy them. Thanks for listening.
01-24-2021
Darci Craven []
I am opposed to the SSB 1065 Voucher Bill for the following considerations:Simply: At this unprecedented pandemic moment in history, multitudes of children and families struggle. They rely on public schools on so many varying levels.In addition: Students, parents, and educators need support, consistency, and reliability.Finally: Times change, needs change; however, Public Education needs to be a solid and predictable cornerstone for families.. for ALL students.Thank You for your consideration.
01-24-2021
Sarah DuBois []
Our public schools are already underfunded. Please direct funds to them, rather than away from them.
01-24-2021
Kelsey Mangold []
This is not in the best interest of our public education system. People want quality schools in our rural counties and the only way that happens is through resources allocated to them. Do not pass this bill and further cripple rural public schools.
01-24-2021
Terese Grant [League of Women Voters of Iowa]
The League of Women Voters of Iowa opposes this bill because it would take funding away from our public schools which are underfunded in the first place. As a former educator I know first hand that schools in Iowa used to be considered some of the best educational institutions in the United States. We have slowly been losing that reputation and this has a lot to do with the lack of funding that has been going on for many years. Our students have suffered and this needs to change.I encourage all of you to oppose this bill.
01-24-2021
Jacqueline Thompson []
Stop saying you care about our children of color, our students who suffer food insecurity, the children whose parents income is disproportionately spent on housing, the students who are bilingual, first gen Americans, physically and/or mentally challenged, et al while you take funds away from their public schools. Your actions are speaking louder than your words.
01-24-2021
Andrea Cook [WDM public and Dowling Catholic parent]
As someone who has had children in both public and private education, this bill is harmful to both. While serving on leadership on our parochial elementary school board, we were always worried about this type of legislation. We wanted full classrooms, but private education isn't designed for everyone, just as not every public district is designed for everyone. These 2 systems have coexisted well, though our governor and dominant legislative party keep putting their thumbs on the scale to tip the balance towards the private system. Our public system is underfunded enough, and this bill is racist, harmful and will further weaken our overall education system in Iowa.
01-24-2021
Abby Goldsmith []
I oppose this bill. Tax dollars need to be spent on underfunded public schools, and that spending needs to be protected.
01-24-2021
Mike Fisher []
I'm registering my opposition to any Educational Savings Accounts and Vouchers for Iowa. This is bad for rural Iowa. Any methods for funneling money away from rural Iowa economies is not good business. With many of our public schools being the largest employers, we need good public schools as places of employment and also educating our kids so they stay, have their own kids, and add to our economy. My wife is a public school teacher. We need our support here. This seems to be an urban issue. Keep urban issues out of rural Iowa. If we have problems with our urban and suburban neighbors and school choice, then address it there and don't hurt our North Central Iowa economy.I go to a Baptist church where I'm a leader with our congregation. In conversations, many of us agreed, this is bad business for farmers and our blue collar industries. I'm a man of faith and God. Let's keep God and government separate. That's how George Washington intended it.Mike Fisher
01-24-2021
Helen Smith []
1. Since vouchers never provide full tuition, they are only available to those that can already afford private schools.2. Charter and private schools dont have to accept everyone and arent held to the same academic standards as public schools.3. Charter and private schools are notorious for counseling out or kicking out hard to teach students.4. There are fewer academic opportunities in charter and private schools. 5. Charter and private schools, even with the ability to kick out low academic performers, still do no better than on testing than public schools.6. Charter and private schools take away funding from public schools, in essence DEFUND public schools. 7. Why would you run parallel school districts? Its not an efficient or effective. Its a downright waste of taxpayer money.8. Wasteful vouchers dont solve issues such as poverty or funding equity which are the real problem with the current education system.9. Vouchers are the most current version of Jim Crow. Iowa has historically been ahead of the nation in being anitracist. This bill would set Iowa back decades.10. Vouchers would hurt rural Iowa. In fact, vouchers are not supported by the majority of Iowans only corporations and republican donors. It would be nice if our elected officials would actually listen to Iowans for a change.
01-24-2021
Sarah Fisher []
Im a Baptist woman of God and I can tell you that this voucher nonsense is wrong. It will hurt rural Iowa and cost us jobs.
01-24-2021
Sharon Poplawski []
I oppose SSB 1065. I do not want my taxpayer money going to a voucher system to fund private schools. Vouchers will most certainly deplete money going to fund our public schools and will open the door to discriminatory practices.Public schools have been and should continue to be the bedrock for education, whether it be urban or rural communities. Vote no on Vouchers.
01-24-2021
Mary Meyer []
Yes, I strongly support this bill. Choice and competition is always advantageous to the student.
01-24-2021
Heidi Shumaker []
I am opposed to SSB 1065. Public funds should go to public schools where all children are welcomed & educated.
01-24-2021
Jennifer McDaniel [Lewis Central Community School District]
I am a Lewis Central School Board Member. I strongly opposed SSB 1065. Public dollars should be used for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public community schools that are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status and disability, not for a new entitlement program for parents who choose private education.Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board, are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same public standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used, but are not informed about the use and impact of voucher funds.As a proud Lewis Central school board member, a daughter of retired Iowa public school teachers, a parent of a 2020 Lewis Central graduate and anticipated 2022 graduate, and both myself and my husband graduates of the public school system in Iowa, I strongly oppose this bill and hope more funds will instead be invested in public schools.
01-24-2021
Patrick Rabbitt []
As a Principal in a Public School, I would like you to consider accountability before diverting students from our already shrinking rural districts. I ask that the accountability and laws for education follow the children not just the money. Diverting students in the name of supporting private enterprise with public dollars causes me concern and I believe it would be a huge win for private business to get public dollars with no accountability for educating our kids.Don't let your colleagues from the metro coerce you into voting for this bill without a tool to hold the Charter Schools accountable.
01-24-2021
Mary Nelson []
I strongly oppose SSB1065. Public funds should be used for PUBLIC education, not private/nonpublic schools. Private/nonpublic schools are not held to the same standards as public schools, & can deny access to students (something public schools cannot do). Over 90% of Iowa students attend public schools & will not have access to these funds. Rather than channeling additional funds to nonpublic schools, these funds should be directed to public schools so that all of Iowa's children have access to a quality education.
01-24-2021
Jo Vandecar []
I am very much opposed to SSB 1065. This will undermine education in Iowa, and should not become law. Public education already experiences major challenges because of inadequate funding and stresses from the pandemic. This will hurt it further. Our communities all need very strong public schools to create a very strong Iowa! Please do not vote to pass this bill. Help keep Iowa public education at an excellent level.
01-24-2021
Sandee Lyons []
I am writing to oppose SSB1065. Using public monies for private schools seems a violation of the fiduciary duty legislators have to the public. It also allows private entities to avoid the responsibilities we have to all students. Public funds should require accountability, transparency, equality, and equity. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. For example: Nonpublic schools can deny acceptance of any student. Public schools are designed to serve all students. Nonpublic schools can have policies that are discriminatory. Public schools cannot. The states Diversity Plan has ensured that five of Iowas most diverse public school districts have a say in stopping economic segregation and white flight. This strengthens and provides stability for the entire district to the benefit of all of the students served. Eliminating the Diversity Plan for the five districts will increase inequities, allow segregation between neighboring districts, and increase pockets of poverty. If you want public services to succeed, Iowa elected officials must invest in those public servicesnot hand over public, taxpayer money to private interests.
01-24-2021
Lindsey Hannan []
Our public schools are already struggling enough. Public schools used to be a point of pride in Iowa.Please focus on bringing that back instead of harming them further. I strongly oppose this bill.
01-24-2021
Matt Schaefer []
I am in favor of this bill. We have several struggling public schools and private schools can be helpful in these locations. If a school is struggling giving more money to them sounds like bad plan. If it was a business it would out of business because the money wouldn't come in. So as a tax payer I would like the option to choose what school my dollars support.
01-24-2021
Rebecca Shattuck []
I strongly oppose this bill that could create a voucher program. Private schools and charter schools aren't regulated the same way that public schools are. They don't have to hire certified teachers, they don't have to take the same exams, and they also can refuse to admit students based on religious beliefs and special needs. This bill would pull funding out of schools, especially Title I schools that need more financial support, and it would give it to schools that can discriminate. It also harms rural schools, as voucher programs like this often lead to rural schools closing.Further, studies have shown that voucher programs like this result in private schools raising their tuition by the same cost of the voucher! That means the tuition would remain the same (out of pocket) for families. Money would simply be taken from public schools and given as profit to private school owners. This is a terrible idea of Iowa.
01-24-2021
David DeWild []
I wanted to write to you about my opposition to SSB 1065. The governors proposed SSA increase would cost the state about $20 million that would be allocated to pay for the educational expenses of Iowas 480,000 public school students. The newly proposed SSB 1065 would spend approximately $50 million to benefit just 10,000 private/charter school students. The state would be providing 250% more tax dollars ($30 million) to private/charter schools that educate a mere 2% of the students that public schools do. This seems like a grossly biased allocation of state resources. Not to mention the fact that doing so would be using public tax dollars to fund tuition at a private school. Something that is unprecedented in this state. I have heard it stated that parents and students deserve choice in their education. I agree and would argue that the states open enrollment laws provide exactly that. We have outstanding public schools in Iowa and parents can open enroll their students to the public school of their choice already. So parents already have school choice and are already choosing without the need for vouchers.Lastly, SSB 1065 explicitly states that the state and local schools may not require a nonpublic school to modify its academic standards to receive payment from parents/guardians under this fund. Furthermore, private and charter schools are not required to report out their standardized test scores like the public schools are. Why would our state give taxpayer money to private schools who neither have to meet state standards nor report out student performance? According to SSB 1065, the state will provide vouchers for students to attend a private school based on the fact that their public school was identified in need of comprehensive support. Yet the private school that they choose to attend will not be required to teach state standards and will not have to publicly report assessment results of their students progress. These private schools and charters can never then be deemed in need of comprehensive support themselves since standardized assessments are required to do that. This means that the private school the students may decide to attend may actually be worse than the public school that they were given state money to leave. Thats not only not right, but also a poor use of Iowa tax payer money.
01-24-2021
Jill Schlichte []
I am writing in support of this bill. As a taxpayer I feel it is important for my tax dollars to be used to support my children in their education! It seems unfair to see my tax dollars being spend towards other children's education just because I want our Catholic values integrated throughout the day. As a teacher in a private school, I am in shock others don't want to see all children in our school systems succeed no matter what school they are enrolled in. ALL students deserve the right to an equal education! As a private school teacher, I am appalled to see how the public thinks it is ok for private school teachers to make very little in salary pay with no benefits. We do the same exact job as public school teachers. I strongly support this bill so ALL students can be educated with the same opportunities!
01-24-2021
Halli Sanford-Ryan []
I do not support tax dollars going to school vouchers, private school scholarships or private schools. Public money needs to go solely to public schools.
01-24-2021
Halli Sanford-Ryan []
I do not support tax dollars going to school vouchers, private school scholarships or private schools. Public money needs to go solely to public schools.
01-24-2021
Ellen Johnsen []
I am opposed to this bill, because I believe government should work in the interest of the most people. This bill would divert public funding from schools and benefit a small group of students over the majority of children in a school district. If a school is struggling, we as a state need to provide more resources, not less resources. This bill might help a few children, but it would be the children whose parents/guardians are most proactive in accessing benefits. It would leave out students whose parents don't have the time and resources to apply for these programs the very students who most need strong public schools.
01-24-2021
Jennifer Harris []
What do you all have against public education? These voucher programs are a slap in the face to every public education teacher, associate, custodian, social worker, bus driver, etc. you are effectively saying that if a partner doesnt like the district they live in, then they can go somewhere else. I am an Iowa tax payer, I want my tax dollars to go to the district I live in. Not to another district. Allowing families to take their allotted tax dollars elsewhere, effectively bankrupt already struggling schools. Schools struggle for various reasons. The biggest one being black of funding. Because school funding is directly attached to taxes and enrollment. I have worked in the education field for 30 plus years. I am embarrassed at the lack of respect public educators get. We are expected to provide a Tesla quality education on a shoe string budget. Will you require private and charter schools to feed and clothe the low income students that move to their buildings. Provide services to those will all special needs! Or will you effectively be desegregating our schools. The only good part of this bill are the increasing child tax credits for education: How will you track those parents who decide to use their students money that is designed for education, do other purposes. They will claim they are homeschooling this child but there is no regulation for home schooling. Rather than spending $54M,B or T dollars on a program that defunds our public education, try actually increasing funding instead!!! At the rate you are going, you wont have teachers to educate Iowa students. No one wants to work where they arent respected and valued. So What do you all have against public education!
01-24-2021
Chris Rolwes [Cedar Rapids Community Schools]
I oppose this bill. What is the vision for quality public education in Iowa? What is the demonstrated need for this type of program? Any sort of voucher system alters the social compact that we currently have with our residents of this state and will only increase the inequities that we are currently dealing with. If this part of the bill wasn't bad enough, the open enrollment provision which will end diversity plans could cause more segregation in our state. There is no credible evidence that shows that vouchers will improve student outcomes. Vouchers will divert more dollars away from public schools and will lead to even more school consolidation. If private schools are going to receive public dollars, then they should be made to accept EVERY student that walks through their doors. Any private school that takes tax payer dollars should have to follow every state and federal law that comes with those public dollars. If passed, there will be extra administrative costs and there will need to be individuals hired to deal with this program at the Department of Education. We already have plenty of school choice in Iowa.
01-24-2021
Greg Dockum [Former President of Johnston Board of Education]
Dear Chairperson Sinclair, Senator Quirmbach and Senator Zaun,Thank you for your service to the educators and students in all of our great Iowa schools. I support choice in education and agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their children in a private or religious school if they wish, as all children learn differently. However, I do not believe public taxpayer funds should be used for this purpose. Taxpayer dollars should only be used for education that is open and inclusive to all Iowans. Vouchers funnel public dollars through parents to nonpublic schools which are not required to accept all students like public schools are. The public's investment should be used to support community schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status and disability, not for a new entitlement program for parents who choose private education for their children.I am also concerned about accountability and transparency. I was an eightyear member of a publiclyelected citizen governing board required to report academic results achieved in the Johnston School District to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their dollars are being spent, but would be left in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.Efforts to promote choice in education should be created within communitybased public schools, not outside of them. I would ask that legislators who are acknowledging that "one size does not fit all" continue working to reduce the overregulation of state and federal bureaucracy that is stifling the ability of local community school boards to be truly responsive to parent and community needs. Let's invest in innovative schools, more flexible program offerings, and greater partnerships among and between schools and with community organizations.Public schools educate over 90% of Iowa students. Please keep all of them in mind as you consider this bill on Monday. I encourage you to vote "No" on SSB 1065. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.
01-24-2021
Julie McElroy []
I support PUBLIC FUNDS for PUBLIC SCHOOLS. I do not support the use of PUBLIC FUNDS for private education.
01-24-2021
Joanna Carpe []
I do not support this proposal. Public education works when supported by public funds. I respect every parents decision to send their child to private school but the general public should not be asked to subsidize this desire. When we fully find our public schools we build a strong future for our community. Taking money from public schools will put students at risk.
01-24-2021
ROBERT FORTE []
I strongly object to this bill for many reasons. I worked in public schools in several states including Iowa during my 14 years in education. This bill truly endangers the backbone of education in Iowa. Our public schools are already underfunded, understaffed, and underresourced.The needs of students beyond underpaid teachers and antiquated technology include guidance personnel, mental health personnel, and trained personnel in nonteaching positions. Other critical issues:1. Class sizes are too large for teachers to manage.2. Guidance "counselors" cannot provide adeqaute direction or resources to students who will graduate and will want to attend a community college or 4year school. They are too busy reacting to the daily emergencies and crises brought to them by students on a daily basis. i.e fights, pregnancies, family situations, truancy, gangs, etc. I've asked hundreds of juniors and seniors if their guidance person spent any time with them researching schools or asking them about their future plans. I'd estimate that less than 10% get the "guidance" necessary to make good decisions and many simply wander off after graduation with no direction and, in many cases, no motivation.3. By allowing students to get "scholarships" based on their school underperforming based on graduation rates only weakens that school. Maybe this bill is an artificial way to increase graduation rates as students leave.4. Does this bill mean that students have a "right" to attend private schools? That is not the role or resonsibility of the state. A wellmaintained and well funded public school system is the responsibility of the state.Also, the bill includes the right to form Charter schools without approval of the state's board of education. This is ludicrous and also dangerous. Without accountability of these proposed charter schools to some professional body these "schools" will pop up like crabgrass in a lawn.Fix the problems that currently exist in our public schools. Don't provide escape routes for students who will likely not thrive or be more successful in private schools.The bottom line is that this bill is an effort to fast track a bad policy without discussing it with the professionals in the field of education. Just like the misguided and dangerous policy that attemtped to force schools, under penalty, to have 100% inperson learning during the Covid pandemis.
01-24-2021
Mary Porter []
As a School Board member, I SUPPORT this bill. Public funds are for the PUBLIC and all schools should be successful. Public schools are more successful when some of the education demand is handed off to private schools. Part of the reason that public schools have had the successes that they have is because they dont serve the entire public. If public schools served all the public (and private schools didnt exist), the number of students in public students would dramatically jump. Continuing with that thought, if the number of students in public schools increased, the amount of resources per student would be diluted. It would cause there to be a need for more teachers, more buildings to be able to have capacity and in general more cost to an already constrained system. If private schools are saving the public education system money, why wouldnt some of the public funds go to serving the public that attend nonpublic schools? Having private schools take these kids out of the publicschool system actually enables the public school to give more resources, time and attention to those that choose to go to public schools. Public schools need private schools to exist.Also, in terms of a prior posting regarding creating discrimination, as private schools do not have the (funding) means to support kids with needs such as autism; it is actually the current funding system that is creating this situation. If school funding was provided to all taxpayers, it would enable private schools to be funded to support more kids such as those with autism.
01-24-2021
Jennifer Wrage []
Please keep these things in mind:Use public dollars for public schools. Period. The publics investment should be used to support public community schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status and disability, not for a new entitlement program for parents who choose private education.Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board, are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same public standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used, but are left in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.
01-24-2021
Lindsay Dalrymple []
I am writing to express that I am strongly opposed to using tax dollars to fund private schools. As a former public school educator who is still working in the public sector this idea lacks any credibility. Eliminating funding from under funded schools hurts all of Iowa, but especially our small schools located in our very rural towns that have no school alternatives. All taxpayers are paying in to the education fund to help provide a brighter future for Iowa, not just parents with students currently enrolled. This legislation is harmful to the future of Iowa and its ability to recruit and maintain families.
01-24-2021
Sally Magner []
I do not think it is right to use tax payer money to fund private schools. Our public schools are already underfunded. Taking more away would hurt all the students.
01-24-2021
Elaine Baughman []
I am opposed to this bill, which proposes using public school dollars to provide vouchers (scholarships) to be used for private schools. Attending private schools is a choice; private schools dont accept everyone and are not held to the same standards as private schools. Our public schools have been underfunded for years; this would hurt them even more. As a voter in Iowa, I am asking you to vote NO.
01-24-2021
Pat Rabbitt [Citizen]
Opposed to SSB 1065! What is the ANNUAL COST to Oversee a massive program such as this?
01-24-2021
Brett Hoffman []
Public funds for public school only. Please invest in our public schools only.
01-24-2021
A Wernimont [Parent]
I do not support this bill. Public tax dollars need to stay and support public schools. Public school have been underfunded for years. These dollars are greatly needed to support public schools that teach all children no matter their socioeconomics, race, or disability.
01-24-2021
Brad Bixby []
As a public school educator i am strongly opposed to this bill.
01-24-2021
Stephanie Fleckenstein []
I oppose SSB 1065. Resources for public education and for children who are at risk of falling behind are already limited. This bill would further limit these resources, increase social inequities, and weaken the public education system. Public tax dollars are for public education which serves the majority of our states' children (94%).
01-24-2021
Karen Dixon []
I oppose SSB 1065. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, who do not admit students based on equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. Please vote NO to SSB 1065.
01-24-2021
Lisa Hixson []
I am strongly opposed to SSB 1065. Public funds should be used to support public schools. Public schools need support during this difficult time and this bill doesn't support public schools. It undermines it.
01-24-2021
Lisa Filip []
As an Iowa taxpayer and public school employee, I strongly disagree with SSB1065. For many years Iowa public schools have been rated some of the top in the country. Sadly, this will change if more money is taken away from public schools. Teachers are already spending their own money to buy supplies needed in their classrooms. Iowa students will the the biggest losers if this passes. They do not deserve that.
01-24-2021
Christina C [St. Joseph Community School]
I am writing in support of this bill. Families should be allowed to choose the best educational fit for their child. There are many benefits to both public and private schools. Please make a decision that reflects the best interest of all students.
01-24-2021
Matt Doyle []
I oppose SSB 1065. Please do not support this bill. This bill will do great harm to students in the state of Iowa and damage our public schools. Public tax dollars are needed to help support the improvement of staffing, buildings, and the services provided at public schools. This bill will only widen the opportunity gap and disparity facing many public students today.
01-24-2021
Allison Carr []
Please end this bill. This bill would decimate districts and accelerate and exacerbate segregation in our schools. It's well known that vouchers and other forms of school "choice" simply cut corporate partners into the education landscape and only benefit those families who already have the means to afford private school, while leaving underserved populations behind in districts that will struggle without public dollars. PUBLIC DOLLARS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Iowa schools used to be the pride of the nation. Why is the governor and the Iowa GOP so hellbent on selling them off for parts?
01-24-2021
Alicia Chilton []
Our public schools are essential to the fabric of our communities, our state, and our futures. Every child, regardless of where they live or their socioeconomic status, should have access to quality education. By focusing on alternatives or "choice" (I'll get to that in a minute), we leave our public schools vulnerable to less funding and the problems that cascade from poorly funded schools. A welleducated citizenry benefits us all. When we educate our children well, we equip them to be adults who are prepared for the workforce and prepared to make contributions to society. The "choice" touted in this bill is "choice" for only a narrow portion of Iowans. Unless the state is planning to fully fund every penny for a student who chooses to go to a private/charter school, alternatives to public school become no choice at all. For many Iowans, there is not room in the family budget to pay even a portion of private school tuition, or households rely on two incomes so one parent cannot leave their job to oversee homeschooling. Also, a vast majority of our state is rural. Do most citizens even live within a reasonable distance of a private school to consider it an option? Please vote no on this bill and focus instead on empowering our public school system to do what it was designed to do: provide education for all.
01-24-2021
Stephanie and Chris Garcia-Prats []
We are writing to express our great concern for bill SSB1065. We do not believe it serves the vast majority of our children to divert money from public schools. We are especially concerned about harm to children of low income families, rural areas, and BIPOC communities. We ask you to think about the greater good of children, our most vulnerable population, and all Iowa communities.
01-24-2021
Petra Lange [WDMCS]
Hello,I am writing today as a parent with a student in DMPS and an educator teaching in West Des Moines Community Schools. I am staunchly AGAINST passing this bill to committee. Please do what is best for Iowa students and do NOT pass SSB 1065 out of subcommittee. Thank you, Petra Lange
01-24-2021
Jessica Dowell []
I would like to strongly voice my opposition to SSB 1065. I am concerned about anything that would pull funds away from our public schools. In most cases, the state allocated dollars for each student is not enough to cover the cost of private school tuition. As such, this savings account plan would really just allow those who can already afford private school to pocket state money.Private schools also have the ability to discriminate on the basis of ability and race. The governor has said that her vision is that these private and charter schools might not be subject to the same requirements that public schools are, which inherently opens the door for inequities to take place. The students who would possibly be discriminated against are those who are most vulnerable within society.Finally, this voucher plan would ultimately hurt rural students who would not have a private school option. Many of them are already attending small and hyphenated districts comprised of students from many different communities. I worry that this voucher plan would strip away opportunities for our rural students and create even more of a population shift in years to come.Please, I ask the members of the education subcommittee, particularly Mr. Zaun as my own senate rep, to vote no on SSB 1065.
01-24-2021
Brian Reynolds []
I strongly object to this bill. Public schools are already underfunded. I do not want my tax money being used to support religious education. Strong public education is the backbone of our democracy and economy, please do not further erode it.
01-24-2021
ellie wellman [valley high school]
taxpayer dollars should not be used for private schools. art programs are already getting cut in Iowa schools due to lack of funding. I do not want to watch private schools thrive, more than they already are, while other iowa schools are struggling. valley high schools special education programs are getting smaller and teachers are struggling. this bill is NOT ok in the slightest.
01-24-2021
Elizabeth Norris []
I am strongly opposed to this bill. It would drain public money away from public schools, which are already not funded well enough. Public money belongs in public schools, not private schools. In addition, the proposed provision which would not allow a school district to deny a request for a transfer or open enrollment because it would conflict with the district's diversity plan and instead allow a denial only if it would affect a court ordered desegregation plan is ludicrous. We have a problem with racism in Iowa. There are disparities in education, healthcare, life expectancy, and expected lifetime earnings that can be linked to policies that were originally based on racism and segregation. We should not require parents to sue a school district to remedy these problems. We should be actively seeking to ameliorate these problems by encouraging our school districts in their diversity plans. Please vote no on this bill and do not advance it out of committee.
01-24-2021
Leanne Benson []
Dear Members of the Senate Subcommittee,Thank you for your consideration on this important decision. I am writing to communicate my support of SSB1065. It will help more families choose an appropriate education for their children and create better opportunities and improve outcomes. Supporting education should not be about private vs. public as we all pay taxes. I also fully support increasing the tuition and textbook tax credit, which has not been increased for a very long time.
01-24-2021
Jessica Siefert []
I oppose this bill. I believe this voucher program will further strain public schools that are already facing budget cuts. Our state government should aim to lift up the quality of education for ALL children. This bill will only serve a small portion of the population while stripping funding away from those who need it most. Please do not pass this bill. Instead, choose to focus on funding a stronger public school system for all.
01-24-2021
Mia Wells []
I am a senior in high school, and I strongly oppose SSB 1065. Public schools are the backbone of our state. As a young person, I am one of many that do not want to stay in the state upon graduation because politicians attack the best parts. Instead of investing in public schools and doing everything to help elevate the beautiful diversity of students, they continue to make decisions that dont make sense and definitely dont have Iowa students' best interests in mind. Vouchers will only fund schools that do not have to admit all students. Why would anyone do that? Iowa schools are barely funded as is and had an out of control pandemic thrown on their doorsteps. Our public schools need full funding now more than ever. This state will see a mass exodus of young people because politicians do not value Black Lives, LGBTQ, trans lives, and not our schools or teachers either. When does this stop? Will it happen before my generation leaves the state for one that cares about us?
01-24-2021
Mike Norris []
I am opposed to SSB 1065 and its concepts. Iowa needs to strengthen its existing schools instead of weakening them. Iowa has some of the best schools in the country thanks to parents, teachers, elected school board members and students. I had firsthand experiences sending three kids through a school eligible under the bill for students to transfer out of as a Comprehensive School under ESSA, one of 34 in Iowa. They received topnotch education at the school. The staff is committed, trained and in my opinion, effective. The bill sets up a system where anyone can leave a school on the 'list'. This system does nothing to consider why a different situation would benefit the student, or help students be ready to learn when they get to school. A consistent academic standard for schools receiving tax payer funds is vital the bill seems to set different standards for public and charter schools. One standard helps the entire state measure its performance under one set of rules. To apply dfferent standards begs the question why, and which standard is then the best? It appears since the public schools have a standard already set to enable them to spend, levy and receive public funds, that is the best standard (also through accountability of elected officials and public information). Iowa has already enacted school choice options through open enrollment in public schools. Every district in the state participates in open enrollment. In some districts open enrollment numbers exceed the number of students residing in the same district. In summary I'm not in favor of diverting resources away from the wellregarded public schools in Iowa. Our public schools are something to be proud of, to strengthen and to make more use of, not less.
01-24-2021
Lacey Johnson []
To best serve our children and our communities, Iowa public schools need quality resources and additional staff. Diverting money away from public schools is not in the best interests of our young people or our communities. Please use your vote to support our children by supporting our public schools.
01-24-2021
Erika Dierking [Storm Lake Community Schools]
Please do not pass this bill. Vouchers would be a huge blow to our public schools that are already struggling financially. In order to build a strong community we need to have a strong education system. Taking away our funding is not moving in the right direction. Our teachers & staff are already spread thin, dont make this pandemic more stressful for those that are already struggling. Lets work together to be the best public school system that we can be.
01-24-2021
Adam Harmer []
Do you (IA GOP) value public education? You have a funny way of showing it. Year after year underfunding SSA. All but killing collective bargaining outside of base wages. Now you want to take money away from the public schools for vouchers with the private schools. You know what I think of SSB 1065. Stop attacking public education and starting valuing it.
01-24-2021
Kary Monson []
Hello. My name is Karly Monson. I am a product of Iowa public schools. Throughout my schooling I had nothing but positive experiences with my teachers, learning environments, and preparedness towards advancing my education. My public school experience pushed me to become a teacher. I now am in my second year of teaching kindergarten, and one of my biggest goals is to have my students feel the same way I did growing up about their school experiences.As a public educator, I have given my all to keep educating my students, in person, throughout a global pandemic. I, as well as my colleagues throughout the state of Iowa, have been given no additional support even though we are in the midst of unprecedented times. We continue to show up, and give teaching our all, because of our love and passion for making a difference in students's lives. I live in Carroll, Iowa. As a fellow Iowan, public educator, and constituent, SSB 1065 greatly worries me. The voucher bill will directly affect myself, my students, my school district, my community, and my career. As a public school educator, I am required to admit and serve all students in a fair and equal education. Private schools are not held to this same degree, and are not required to serve students equitably. I am held to standards, not only from my school but also by the state of Iowa, to serve all students in a fair learning environment to my best ability. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. Diverting public resources to nonpublic schools removes accountability and transparency. Student First Scholarships are the wrong public policy for Iowa and are an inappropriate use of public tax dollars. Public schools in Iowa contain more than 480,000 students. Nonpublic schools in Iowa contain just about 10,000 students. At a time in history where public schools and public school educators are facing unprecedented challenges, available resources should go to support Iowa public school students and schools in all 99 counties. I have students who do not have a say, or the means, to choose public versus nonpublic school. They need a strong, wellfunded public school system to help them in their intellectual, social, emotional and physical needs. A strong, wellfunded public school system to continue and support them in becoming lifelong learners and problem solvers. I advocate for my students each and every day, and ask you to please do the same when acting on this bill. Please choose to support Iowa public schools, and use public dollars for public education. Thank you.
01-24-2021
Liz Gunkel []
This year we have seen the vital role of public schools in communities. This bill would take taxpayer money from local neighborhood schools to go towards schools that do not have the same accountability back to the taxpayers. Private schools also do not have to serve all students (those with behavioral or academic special needs). It would also increase segregation in schools. Taxpayer money should only be given to public schools that are accountable to the state and their local communities.
01-24-2021
L Engels []
I support SSB 1065, and hope the committee will too. As an educator and a parent of three children, one with special needs, I am in support of my taxpaying dollars following my children to the school I determine to be best for them, our family, and their education. While happy with the district in which we reside, I appreciate knowing I have a choice to take my children elsewhere should that change, and believe all parents and taxpayers should have that choice. Please support education reform, and thank you for your hard work on this bill.
01-24-2021
Brian Boerner [West Des Moines Schools]
Why is the state of Iowa so determined to kill public education?As a longtime educator, I have seen public school funding take a turn over the past couple years, and now this. . . .wow!Anyone that supports this should really be ashamed of themselves as you are siphoning more money away from public schools which is essentially harming our most needy students.We can do better. Kill this bill!!!
01-24-2021
Sarah Outterson -Murphy []
I oppose this bill because public schools accept everyone and its unfair to drain money from them to go to private schools that can pick and choose their students. I want my kids to learn in a school that is full of differences that reflect the real world, not just the easy kids or the kids with energetic parents.
01-24-2021
Jennifer Ulie-Wells [WDMCS School Board Member]
As a school board member and parent of two students in public schools, I am writing in strong opposition to SSB 1065. I started my teaching career as a private school teacher, and while I have the utmost respect for private schools, they should not be funded with taxpayer dollars. Private schools do not have the same standards and oversight as public schools. Public funds should only be used in education that serves all students regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, ability, and gender. Using public taxpayer funds for private schools will only perpetuate injustice in our school systems harming our most vulnerable and already underserved populations. Public schools thrive when they are fully funded and able to maximize resources and opportunities for ALL students. Public money needs transparency and oversight. Public schools have a separate elected governing board, have annual audits, and intensive levels of oversight. Voucher programs are expensive with many hidden costs. Our public schools could desperately use the funds that will be used for this voucher program. Research does not show that vouchers improve achievement rather that some of the largest voucher school systems have some of the poorest performance and are hurting from the additional costs (Stanford University https://news.stanford.edu/2017/02/28/vouchersnotimprovestudentachievementstanfordresearcherfinds/) Our rural schools will be harmed the most. They have been consolidating for years and this would only force more consolidation across entire counties. We need our young people to have the best educational opportunities, and we can continue to provide those in fully funded public schools. Finally, we have a generation of some of the most amazing young people in the world. In order to keep them in the state we need to invest in them. DO NOT SUPPORT SSB 1065.
01-24-2021
Janelle Danner []
I would implore you to consider the implications of this bill and consider not passing it. The introduction of charter schools and tax exemptions for school choice has traditionally lead to even greater inequities and gaps among students. Please research the effects of this kind of legislation in other states to see that it has not helped, only helped to further the divide. I teach at a private school and can tell you first hand that our education overall is inferior to most public schools. It is all about the money, and getting students to graduate then actually teaching them. There are woefully inadequate programs in place for low achieving, disadvantaged students and special education students so giving them the choice to attend a private school does not mean we will do a better job of educating them, in fact my experience is that we do not. Add in the fact that there is little to no accountability for private schools in this area plus the added burden of public schools to educate special populations that private schools refuse to without compensation for those home public schools and you are putting a huge strain on public education. It would make much more sense to equalize state monies to all public schools to put them on equal footings with each other, and certainly even playing fields with private schools. In my experience legislators only have their own experience and/ or that of their children in education. The issues are much boarder than your experiences and this legislation is not something that is going to make education better. If you would become informed district by district and allocate specific funds to update dilapidated schools, provide funds for mandated programs that are unfunded, decide to legislate policies that end systemic inequalities, etc., that would make a difference. Please keep all of this in mind as you debate this bill, recognize your intellectual humility, that you are not experts in education and yet you are making the policies for education, and that many times the people who are feeding you your information are not active in education either but simply have their own agenda that doesn't actually benefit students. Thank you for considering.Janelle Danner
01-24-2021
Carly Marten []
This bill will be detrimental to our public schools and needs to be abandoned. Our public school funding should not be funneled to private schools or the families who are already wealthiest in our communities. By pushing this bill through, it will take much needed funds from the schools who need those funds the most. Allowing families to pull out of failing schools only further affects their funding. Funding is what keeps our schools running and, instead of helping the schools who are struggling to improve, this would just cause those schools to struggle further which would harm the students who dont have the choice to leave for a private school. Our public schools provide a top notch education to our children and should be supported as such.
01-24-2021
Sarah Trosper []
I am writing today because I oppose SSB 1065. As a public school teacher and taxpayer, I have the following concerns:Public taxpayer dollars should be used for public schools open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparencywho will monitor and report the spending on these debit cards funded with public taxpayer dollars?Student First Scholarships are vouchers I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.
01-24-2021
Amber Hansen []
If this bill were to really put all students first, it would be a bill to better find public schools. Taking more money away from public schools will do nothing but, continue to make it difficult for schools to function well with class sizes that are the most conducive to learning. For more than five years public education has been woefully underfunded. There are already options for families choosing to send their children to private schools. Just fund public schools adequately and stop with vouchers.
01-24-2021
Sydney Reeves []
As a native Iowan I passionately oppose this initiative. There is plenty of research about the disparities in public institution funding already and this adds to the issue.
01-24-2021
Jesse Ellis []
Support our public schools! This will hurt our citizens, all for profitmaking! Do not vote this bill to law!
01-24-2021
Mary Murphy [Parent]
I looked at SSB 1065 again, and there is insufficient oversight and accountability over education service providers. High level monitoring of ESPs and Charter School partnerships and contractual relationships does not monitor and provide accountability for conflicts of interest arising from the investors/venture capitalists in the for profit education service providers. Iowa tax dollars should not be siphoned off by out of state education service providers.
01-24-2021
Megan Harrison []
Im opposed to this bill and the aggressive and egregious manner in which elected officials are trying to force it through.
01-24-2021
Graham Giles []
Public funds should be for public schools. Until public schools are fully funded no public funds should go to private schools.
01-24-2021
Kahri Plein []
As a parent, educator, and Iowa citizen, I strongly oppose this bill. Taking money from already underfunded public schools to give to private schools is wrong. Parents already have choice with open enrollment. It is false that ALL parents will have more choice with this bill. Education is supposed to be the great equalizer. Our public schools are full of hardworking and very bright minds who are trying to do their best for ALL students regardless of their economic status or learning needs. Private schools do not have to accept all students or follow the same curriculum or training in place for public schools. Giving parents public school money to go where they like, regardless of where they live, will only further the problem of white flight. A vote for this bill is a vote to turn your back on public education which was once the pride of our state. A vote for this bill is a vote to turn your back on educators who love their students more than you can comprehend and who have worked tirelessly through even a pandemic to provide the best education possible. A vote for this bill is a vote to turn your back on Iowa students, especially those in the most vulnerable of populations. Other states have not had success with this type of dismantling of their public education system. We should learn from their mistakes and instead fund and support our public schools.
01-24-2021
Stephen Slobodnik []
I am against SSB 1065. Public school funds should be left alone.
01-24-2021
Terry Schneekloth [Cedar Rapids Community School District]
I am currently a public school teacher and was a parochial school graduate. I do not believe public money should be made available to schools that are allowed to restrict and/or select the students who can and cannot attend their school. When parochial schools are required to follow the same rules as far as offering special education accommodations for all levels of special education, are required to accept any students who wants to attend their school, they need to provide benefits to students who have a socioeconomic barrier, among many other requirements put on public schools that are not required of parochial schools.
01-24-2021
Amy Soppe []
I strongly oppose this bill. As an educator, I have watched Iowas public schools get defunded or under funded every year. Taking away more money from public schools will hurt Iowa. Private schools should not be funded with taxpayer money.
01-24-2021
Abby Cunningham []
Please do not support this bill. It will only hurt public schools
01-24-2021
Sara Hamilton []
Funds for public schools need to stay with public schools. I teach 3rd grade at a public school. Im already spending a great deal of my own money to help my students succeed. If you give this money away for scholarships to nonpublic schools, you will make it impossible for public schools to keep going. You have forced us to do more with less for years. You will be pushing us past our limits of providing quality education for the majority of students in Iowa.
01-24-2021
Andrea Gerdes []
I want to be on record in strong opposition to this education bill.
01-24-2021
Laurie Sloterdyk []
Tax dollars should be used for public schools not private schools. This will hurt the public school systems all over the state. Iowa has been a state known for fine public education. This bill is not best for Iowans and their public schools.
01-24-2021
Andrea Severson []
I wish to express my opposition to this bill. Public funds should support public education. This legislation would harm public schools, increase administrative expenses for the state, and spend public funds without adequate oversight and accountability. While this legislation may serve particular individuals, it is a disservice to our communities and to the students, educators and administrators in our public schools.
01-24-2021
Adam Plein []
This is will be another blow to our already underfunded public school system. It will not help the most vulnerable student populations, and our tax dollars should not be assisting individuals already having the financial means to put their children into private schools. If financial assistance is to be provided, it should be going to our public schools and the diverse populations and needs they service.
01-24-2021
Ryan Smith []
This is a great opportunity to give the money back to the tax payer and let them spend it the best way they see fit. It might be a rough start but putting it in the private sector will bring better selection and allow for more opportunities for our students and teachers. It will hopefully also push some of the great teachers out there to start there own private education centers so they can chase the American dream of owning their own business.
01-24-2021
Lisa Merkle []
As a parent of a child in Iowa Public Schools, I am appalled at the idea of this bill. How are public schools supposed to remain competitive if their funding is completely gutted? My children should have access to a quality education, whether or not we can afford to send them to a private or religious school. In an age where we can work from anywhere, why should we stay in Iowa if the public schools aren't good anymore?
01-24-2021
Alison Cocks []
I am an Iowan taxpayer and a retired Catholic school teacher. Even though I taught in a Catholic school and my children went to Catholic schools I oppose SSN 1065. I believe public school funds should stay with public schools. Iowan public schools have been underfunded for years. Public school funds are needed to continue to be used to improve public schools.
01-24-2021
Cari Everhart []
I strongly object to this bill. Public funds are for public schools. Period.
01-24-2021
Becky Meinders []
NO to vouchers! Keep tax dollars for public education!!
01-24-2021
Alicia Emanuel []
I am writing to you as a proud supporter of public education to express my concern with the Students First Scholarship program, currently Senate Study Bill 1065. This proposed legislation will surely cause Iowa schools to be less diverse, less equitable and less effective. This is not in the best interest of Iowa and is not supported by the majority of Iowans. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to admit and serve students equitably. Public funds should also require accountability and transparency. Diverting public resources to nonpublic schools removes accountability.At a time when our public schools are facing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, available resources should go to support the more than 480,000 public school students in all 99 counties.Please Vote No on Senate Study Bill 1065.
01-24-2021
Tamara Skinner []
I oppose the SSB1065.
01-25-2021
Barbara Tool []
I'm opposed to the voucher. This will have a negative impact on inter city children that are ready at a disadvantage.
01-25-2021
Christine Lehman-Engledow []
I strongly oppose SSB1065 Student First Scholarship Program, what a misnomer. I believe that our public tax money should be used exclusively for public education. Iowa has been known for it's great public schools. This bill is a harmful voucher and charter school bill that would be devastating to our public school students. This bill is a catchall of bad ideas. The bill includes provisions for vouchers (using taxpayer money to fund private schools). I should have a say in where my tax money goes. Public schools need more money. I know several teachers that have to pay for their supplies out of their own pockets. It allows for setting up of charter schools (allowing any group to start their own school with no oversight). This means that some lunatic could teach children all kinds of wrong things. Look at what happened with Trumps school. This bill opens the flood gates of open enrollment by allowing kids to go anywhere they want to go. This means that smaller schools will lose resources and may have to shut down. This would make it difficult for parents in small towns to get their children to school. In Arizona, where they did this, it caused some schools to close, some children had to learn in temporary buildings, some had to endure 1 1/2 hour bus rides to and from school.
01-25-2021
Heather Chamberlain []
As an educator, I strongly oppose vouchers. Diverting public funds to private schools is problematic for 3 big reasons:1. Separation of Church and State 2. The myth that private schools are superior3. Schools do not need to provide special education or ESL services1. It is illegal to divert public funds to religious organizations. Don't see an issue with vouchers being used for a private Christian school? What about a radical Islamic school? For the same reason I can't teach Creationism in my science classroom, we need to uphold the separation of Church and State. 2. A lot of press is focusing on Iowa public schools declining in quality while private schools are excelling. Here's what they are not covering: private schools can choose who to accept. Tuition is set so only elite families can easily afford private schools. These kids are supported at home and probably have a private tutor to help them compete. Of course your schools are going to look good if you are only accepting elitist students. 3. Your child has a special learning need, such as IEP, 504, or perhaps English is not their first language? Private schools can choose not to accept them, and if they do, do not need to provide support. They are exempt from these laws all public schools abide by to provide support to all students. Also another reason why something like private school test scores may look better. We can't just send kids away because we deem them "lower quality". Education is and should continue to be a public service, fullyfunded and ready for all of Iowa's children.
01-25-2021
Paras Bassuk []
I am a public high school senior in Iowa City and I believe that SSB 1065 would undermine public schools, hurt our communities, and lower our quality of education.Charter schools are detrimental to our education system in that they appropriate resources from our communities while remaining inaccessible to the majority of the student population. The ability for students to transfer out of their assigned school districts with discretion and any efforts to assist the transfer of students to charter schools using educational vouchers drains resources and students from our public education system. Properly funded public school districts have the ability to create diverse and productive communities and provide a high quality education. A school that is suffering from lack of resources or is underserving its students would be better suited to receive sufficient funding than to lose students to wealthier districts and charter schools.While the state runs a budgetary surplus, Iowa schools are suffering from underfunding. Over my thirteen years in the Iowa public school system, I have witnessed consistent budgetary cuts to departments and extracurricular activities. The underperformance of public schools is a symptom of decisions like SSB 1065 which strip our schools of the necessary tools to serve our state. Facilitating the further drain of resources from public schools is clearly not a decision that benefits Iowans.For those reasons, any budgetary appropriation to Iowa's education system should go towards the improvement of public school districts, and SSB 1065 should be stopped.
01-25-2021
Andrew Burgess []
Public money should go to public schools, period. Expanding private K12 education risks dramatically widening gaps in access and equity. Using public money to fund these ventures is simply outrageous.
01-25-2021
Kevin Smith []
I do not support my tax dollars going towards Christian madrassas. We need to fully fund our public education system.
01-25-2021
Abby Marlow []
No to this bill. This would not help Iowans.
01-25-2021
Travis Gratteau-Zinnel []
This huge bill is detrimental to K12 public schools, but also their communities. Programs of this type have been unsuccessful in providing high quality educational opportunities in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois (particularly the Chicago area). You will be inciting white flight if you remove the diversity plans or, if students of color choose to leave districts with diversity plans, then you set them up to experience further racism. I expect you strongly oppose this bill AND work to ensure that public funds and diversity plans continue to support the public good in our state.
01-25-2021
Karrie Schachtner []
I do not support this bill. It is not aligned with the values of supporting our public schools and will only serve the purpose of undermining our quality of public education yet further. I implore this body to not advance this further Mom of three young children.
01-25-2021
Lauren Winter []
Good evening, as a public educator, I am reaching out with some concerns about a bill proposed by the governor. It is SSB 1065, also known as the "Students First Scholarship". As a public school employee, the contents of this bill are somewhat alarming and concerning. Listed below are a few reasons why I would urge you to vote no on SSB 1065. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are required to admit and serve all students. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, who are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. The absence of public accountability for public funds could contribute to waste and fraud of taxpayer dollars.This proposal would spend approximately $50 million to benefit just 10,000 students. Especially at a time when our public schools are facing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, available resources should go to support the more than 480,000 public school students in all 99 counties.Please vote no on SSB 1065.
01-25-2021
Lauren Winter []
Good evening, as a public educator, I am reaching out with some concerns about a bill proposed by the governor. It is SSB 1065, also known as the "Students First Scholarship". As a public school employee, the contents of this bill are somewhat alarming and concerning. Listed below are a few reasons why I would urge you to vote no on SSB 1065. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are required to admit and serve all students. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, who are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. The absence of public accountability for public funds could contribute to waste and fraud of taxpayer dollars.This proposal would spend approximately $50 million to benefit just 10,000 students. Especially at a time when our public schools are facing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, available resources should go to support the more than 480,000 public school students in all 99 counties.Please vote no on SSB 1065.
01-25-2021
Erin Sears []
NO to this bill. Support our public schools!
01-25-2021
Jamie Harrings []
I oppose school vouchers. They will be a detriment to public schools.
01-25-2021
Bianca Hernandez []
I Vote No! Public funds should not go to private schools.
01-25-2021
Ann Ott []
We are in the midst of a global pandemic, on the verge of economic collapse, with the possibility of another strain of coronavirus coming through our great state, and you are considering using public tax dollars for private education? Public schools have had to meet all of the CDC guidelines with very little additional funding, at a time when they are struggling to meet the needs of everyone. i.e. providing meals for their students at home and face to face, sanitizing the entire building as well as transportation equipment, arranging transportation options for families struck by the pandemic, getting internet capabilities to homes where students have been quarantined or chosen to stay home due to exposure and much more. All of those community services cost money, and in our small rural community, we are proud to help our neighbors. That is the purpose of tax payer dollars .... public services.
01-25-2021
Deb Hansen []
I oppose the use of public dollars for private schools. I am listing a few reasons why I believe this is bad policy and bad policy for Iowa, a state which has in the past been known for its superior schools.*Vouchers Do NOT ensure accountabilityprivate schools are not held to the same accountability that public schools are.*Vouchers are a step backwards for students with disabilities. Over the past 30 years, federal and state laws have evolved to ensure students with disabilities receive an appropriate education. Private schools are not required to provide special education.*Vouchers provide choice for some not all. Vouchers provide choice for private schools, not students. Private schools have a motive to admit students with the fewest educational choices. Vouchers disproportionately benefit students living in urban areas due to limited access to private schools in rural Iowa. The loss of the schools to these rural areas is devastating to communities who are losing population at a high rate. Vouchers do not address the many needs of of lowincome atrisk students such as transportation, fees and reduced lunches, textbooks, assessment of special needs, access to remedial programs and the full cost of tuition.*Vouchers drain critical funding. Public education is a right, not a privilege and should be available and accessible to all Iowan children. Vouchers drain additional resources from our public schools that are already under funded.Public funds should remain in the public school system that serves the majority of Iowas children. A strong public school system is the foundation of this country and state! I implore you to vote NO on any bills which utilize public dollars to support vouchers or ESA what ever you choose to call them!Thank you for your time!Deb Hansen
01-25-2021
Tory DeVries []
Public tax dollars are for public schools!Iowa has a tradition of excellence in public education. Former Iowa residents frequently move back to Iowa when it comes time for their kids to attend school. I moved back from Arizona with my sisters so their children could attend school in Iowa. Taking dollars from public education will devalue our public school system.Public schools are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability.
01-25-2021
Ted Brimeyer []
Please vote NO on this bill. Public dollars should go to public schools. Taxpayer money needs to have accountability and transparency. Under a voucher system, taxpayer money would not be accounted for and up to the discretion of a students parents or guardian. Approving a limited voucher program may seem innocuous but experience tells us that this is the first foot in the door for a fullscale voucher program. Taxpayer dollars should be used for education that is inclusive of all students. Nonpublic and religious schools are not required to accept all students, nor to numerous other regulations and requirements that public schools are. The playing field is not the same in public and private schools. Weve heard for several years that legislators would like to give more to public schools but the money just isnt there. If we cannot fund public education appropriately, how is it that we can fund private schools?
01-25-2021
Jeff Fahrmann []
My wife and I strongly support SSB 1065. The pandemic has opened the eyes of a lot of Iowa families that some school boards and administrators are not interested in what parents believe is best for their kids. We are also beginning to see school districts that are starting to introduce content that parents do not believe has a place in our public schools. Public schools have long had a competitive advantage in their local communities due to their being funded by tax dollars. Tax dollars currently follow each student regardless of what public school they enroll in. The same should be true if parents choose to send their kids to a nonpublic school. Parents deserve to use THEIR tax dollars to educate THEIR children as they see fit. This bill would also offer some accountability for our public school districts in that if they do not provide a quality education or begin to introduce content that does not align with a familys religious beliefs or values, that family could afford to enroll their children in another nonpublic school without having to move to another school district. Again, our family fully supports this bill and hope that you will do the same. Your support of this bill shows whether you care more about the Iowa families that you serve or school boards, administrators, and various special interest groups. Thank you.
01-25-2021
Krista Cooley [WEST DES MOINES SCHOOLS]
My husband, Ryan and I are parents of three children in the West Des Moines Schools and educators in this district. We strongly oppose this idea of using taxpayers' money to give to families for a private or religious school. Parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public schools are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.This will be a tragedy if this goes through. Please listen to the citizens of this state and do NOT let this go through.Ryan and Krista Cooley
01-25-2021
Sara Miller []
As a taxpayer & a public school parent, I am asking that you vote NO to moving SSB 1065 out of subcommittee. This bill takes public money & shifts it to private enterprise. This doesn't serve the public interest and it lacks the accountability & regulation to pass muster as a responsible use of public money. Much as I can't choose not to use a street & then ask for my portion of the tax dollars back, neither should parents be able to elect to not use the public option & ask for their child's allocation. Our state has been the backbone of American PUBLIC education for decades, the standard to which others wish to achieve. Please don't take this step to gut our public education institutions by robbing them of public tax investments. We all lose when public education loses.
01-25-2021
Tiffany Beavers []
As someone who works in public education I fully support this bill. If the education system is doing its job then it has nothing to fear. This bill allows parents a choice if they feel their school isnt doing the best for their child. The world is a competitive place and I believe this will be the push for public education reform that is so vitally necessary. Our system has been failing our kids for far too long. Everyone needs to be held accountable for their part.
01-25-2021
Emily Hoyer []
Please vote NO for school vouchers! This is not the best option for our area schools and would only benefit a small amounts number of students. Keep public dollars in the schools! Vote NO!
01-25-2021
Lu Ann White []
I oppose this bill. This takes money away from public schools. Why shouldnt tax dollars pay for someones private school? It would be wise to support the public schools, improving them, not taking financial support away from them. This is terrible.
01-25-2021
Michelle Weber []
I am writing to share my objection to SSB1065. I am a product of Iowa's strong public schools and am proud to serve students, teachers, and families in my current position. As an instructional coach, I am very familiar with ESSA plans. Schools categorized as comprehensive need a lot of support. Students who attend these schools do not come as equally prepared to take on gradelevel challenges. Taking funding away from these schools through voucher programs sets them up to continue to struggle, instead of to grow and thrive. Let's set all Iowa public schools up for success. Vouchers only serve to undermine our public schools.
01-25-2021
Michele Frank []
For all the reasons that you will hear from those who write eloquently, I don't want my public tax dollars to be used for nonpublic schools.
01-25-2021
Jeremy Schwanebeck []
Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. JCSD is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.
01-25-2021
John Baker []
I served on Villisca school districts school board for 20 years. I am always disappointed when legislators try to justify and encourage private and charter schools while public education battles for crumbs. Difficulties at state and local issues are nearly all based on inequality of systems and this just magnifies the issue.
01-25-2021
Misty Payne []
Student First Scholarships are the wrong public policy for Iowa and an inappropriate use of public tax dollars. The proposal is allowing selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but NOT with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Private or religious schools are a choice that the parents make independently knowing the cost they endure are theirs's to endure.Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board and required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are NOT held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds. This will pull more resources away from public schools.Thank you for advocating for all Iowa public schools.
01-25-2021
Kelly Staker []
I think it's time for our tax dollars to follow the student. I know public school advocates are terrified of this. I see a bigger picture. This would give our family more options to educate our children without the damaging indoctrination. The schools should have to compete for student enrollment. Parents want good, solid schools who teach our children how to think for themselves. Sadly our kids are being told what to think.
01-25-2021
mark augspurger []
my PUBLIC tax dollars are for PUBLIC schools. "Congress shall make NO law respecting establishment of religion"
01-25-2021
Katherine Boyd []
longer live in Iowa but have family who attend Iowa public schools there and was very alarmed to hear that a bill like SSB 1065 was being considered. Cant believe this even needs to be explained but diverting necessary funding from public schools who need it most, in the middle of a pandemic with unprecedented learning loss & challenges to student wellbeing, is very much so not the move.
01-25-2021
Dawn Canova []
If you want to provide ALL students with success, more funds would be better served in the public schools where all students are welcomed and educators are held accountable for their services to ALL parents.
01-25-2021
Janell Mikels []
Student First Scholarships are vouchers. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds. Public dollars are for public schools. I DO NOT want my tax dollars going to pay for nonpublic schools with no true accountability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. These public schools are required to undergo audits for the public accountability and transparency.As seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools that so desperately need those funds now.Just like attending college or not, attending a private college or a junior college and everything in between is a choice.
01-25-2021
Julia Emley []
I am against SSB 1065 for the following reasons:The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. JCSD is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.Thank you for your time and consideration.
01-25-2021
Carrie Jacobs []
NO...public funds are collected for public usage, not private.
01-25-2021
Cheryl Johnson []
I oppose this legislation. Government is for the people. Not for a few.
01-25-2021
Dennis Hendrickson []
Please leave public funding alone for public schools the voucher system is just unfair for those of us that pay taxes towards our public schools, and that's where we WANT the money to go. Leave it alone do something for important for Iowa like working on Covid relief for our small businesses and schools.
01-25-2021
Laura Fank []
I am writing to share my strong objection to this legislation. Pushing public monies to private schools that are not held to legislated standards does nothing to make schools more equal. Private schools may turn away students as they wish, and they are not expected to provide special education services. Instead of promoting equality, as some wish to suggest. This will do the opposite, creating a larger divide. Holding public schools to a much higher standard than private schools while shifting the money elsewhere is the single fastest way to destroy an already underfunded public school system, but I fear that is the ultimate goal of this legislation. This is deeply unfair to our children and our state.
01-25-2021
Kristen Friedrichs []
I am opposed to this bill because it will destroy the public school system in Iowa and I am asking that you remove it from consideration immediately. It will make huge inequities in the education of our children in Iowa. We will see achievement of our students go down rather than up. Public tax payer money needs to stay in public schools. It doesn't make sense that public funding could go to private schools or parents to do whatever they want with it. Private schools are not held to the same standards as public schools. These same private schools can deny entry for any reason and that is certainly not equitable and therefore is not how public money should be used. If this was simply a way for families to choose between public schools then this would make sense. But this is a misuse of public funding. I encourage you to dismiss this bill and instead discuss how you can properly fund public schools. The public schools we have now are great but we must properly fund them, especially during and after a pandemic. Give more funding to our public schools like Iowa did in the past and we will be at the top of the country in education again!
01-25-2021
Megan Geha []
No to this bill!!!
01-25-2021
Diana Branstad []
Please keep our tax dollars going to public education. They work hard to make Iowa's public education the best it can be and they need these funds to keep it this way.
01-25-2021
Heather Haidar []
I am a single mother and I am NOT in favor of this bill!!!!!! I believe that all schools need help not just private schools!! My son attends an amazing public school and he should have the same privileges as children who attend private school. As a single mother working two jobs, I am not able to afford for my son to attend a private school. PLEASE do NOT PASS this bill!
01-25-2021
Matt Van Schepen []
I would encourage you to please support SB 1065. I think we have a number of great public school systems in our state, but I also believe that there are many parents and families who would benefit from a better fit at a different system but don't have the means to make that happen. I support giving parents the power to choose the education for their children. Open Enrollment, increasing the tuition and textbook tax credit, and ESAs are all parts to give parents the power to meet their childrens' needs. Thank you for your consideration.
01-25-2021
Matt Abbas []
All for school vouchers here. I would love to have the opportunity to send the kids to an alternative school and others should have the choice as well.
01-25-2021
Lisa Tegels []
I believe Student First Scholarships are the wrong public policy for Iowa and an inappropriate use of public tax dollars. Why?Whatever you want to call it, student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are intended for PUBLIC schools. Public schools level the playing field and offer ALL students the same opportunity at a quality education. Iowa has great public schools and the publics investment should be used to continue to support public schools. These public schools are open to ALL students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, behavior, etc. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. JCSD is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used and to see the results of these expenditures in terms of student achievement, graduation rates, etc.Starting a voucher program will begin a slippery slope with public schools being the losers. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools, resources that public schools CAN'T AFFORD TO LOSE.How about instead of a voucher program, you up the ante and dedicate more funds to public schools so that we can continue to provide a quality education for ALL students instead of scrimping and saving as we have done for the past 10 years?Thank you for your time.
01-25-2021
Laura DePenning []
To the subcommittee on SSB 1065, I am writing to say I do NOT support this bill. Our students do not need a voucher system they need a wellfunded public education system that provides the most equitable option for learning. Sincerely, Laura DePenning
01-25-2021
Travis Young []
The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.
01-25-2021
Jim Young []
Vote NO on the voucher bill.NO public dollars for private education!Our state is not funding public schools adequately and this will destroy public education in Iowa. Iowa once valued its public education and its ability to ensure our students are successful.Once again, Gov. Reynolds and the GOP are gutting what is important to Iowans!VOTE NO!
01-25-2021
Melina Mena-Davis []
I am a licensed teacher in the state of Iowa. I took two years off to stay home with my children. Im starting to apply for jobs again, but this bill and the antipublic education focus in the Iowa legislature will force me to look for a job in another field. Teaching is hard and it takes passion and drive, but its getting to the point where that passion is not enough to compensate the complete disregard by those making the laws. Iowa is going from the best in education to the worst and its devastating to witness.
01-25-2021
Janette Maronn []
This bill should NOT be considered because it will completely dismantle our public schools in Iowa. Public Schools are meant to level the playing field and civilize our society. They not intended to segregate our students and create an system where those who already have opportunity can continue to have increased privilege. I have worked in public schools for 24 years. I have seen the challenges that our students face daily with resources that are struggling to keep up. I have served as a special education teacher (with 25 kids on my case load with significant needs) and a school counselor (ratio or 750 students to 1 counselor) as well as an assistant principal. If we take away funding from public schools and allow the money to be used for private schools, we are saying that our most vulnerable students will be left behind financially, socially and academically because the funding won't be available to support them. Only students with the financial means already will have the opportunity to attend private schools. If you can't get there, its not even an option. Additionally, private schools don't accept students with disabilities (academically, physically and behaviorally). Public Schools do! This is not an equitable use of tax dollars, but rather giving additional opportunity to those with privilege and public schools and its students and staff will suffer. It is also a quick way to segregate our schools even further. This should be a concern for all legislators putting their name on such a bill. You would be saying that you are okay with this.
01-25-2021
Shalome Musignac Jordan []
Say NO to this bill.
01-25-2021
William Brown []
Funding must be maintained for our public schools. This bill will undermine that funding. Funding parochial schools with public funds is unconstitutional. I am asking you to reject this bill and fund our public schools properly.
01-25-2021
Elizabeth Orcutt []
Please do not approve SSB 1065. This is an inappropriate use of taxpayer money.Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents access to state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds also require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. School districts are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used and if private schools are not held to the same standards, they should not have access to taxpayer funds.Thank you for your time.
01-25-2021
Nadine Woods []
To Whom It May Concern,I am writing to ask you to reconsider SSB 1065. Iowa has had a long tradition of providing excellent public education to all learners. The proposed bill to allocate taxpayer money to provide parents with funds for private school does not align with the beliefs of Iowans. In choosing to pass this bill, you would be taking away funds for many and giving to few. There will not be accountability to the spending of these tax dollars. Each year public schools are needing to do more with less resources. The passage of this bill will only exacerbate this issue and jeopardize all that public education stands for in our state. We were once known as "First in the Nation in Education." Our public schools have amazing educators. Let's work together to bring that status back again.Thank you for your time.Sincerely,Nadine Woods
01-25-2021
Nicole Benson [Johnston School District]
As a parent and an educator, I am opposed to bill SSB 1065. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Our public system is already struggling in school funds, and the majority of our families and students in Iowa attend public schooling and deserve the best support possible. This bill is not in the best interest for the majority of Iowa families.
01-25-2021
CoraLynn Gray [WDMCSD]
I do not believe this policy should be put in place for Iowa's students, teachers, or families. These are vouchers which are not good for our education system. This proposal gives only certain parents/families a sort of debit card that comes loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their student in a private or religious school, but NOT with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. They are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used, but with this policy they would be in the dark about the use and impact of the voucher funds.I'm afraid this will become a slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. We have seen in the past and with other states that this has not ended well. When a type of voucher program like this is implemented and though it may start small, once it is established, it is easy to expand even further. This will pull more resources away from public schools, and will hurt the students, families, and teachers in that school system even more than things have already.Please consider EVERYONE involved when this type of policy is implemented; not just the students/families that could possibly benefit from this, but all students, families, teachers, education system, and communities. Thank you for your time.
01-25-2021
Michelle Veach [Parent]
I fully support giving parents the ability to choose where, and how our kids are educated. Allowing parents to choose where their students funds go gives parents power and school accountability. My dyslexic child has been poorly served by our public school resulting in my paying $9000 a year in private tutoring. A charter school serving her learning style would change our lives.
01-25-2021
Jolene Miller []
This bill does not offer school choice. The amount the state pays per student would not cover the cost of private school. It does not help parents who want a choice. What it does is provide more money to those who already have the money to send their child to private school. You also need to think of students with special needs. Many private schools will not take them. This bill would just take resources away from the public schools who serve those children. Have you spoken to any school districts about how hard it is to hire good teachers these days. In the last three year you have made Iowa a very unattractive state for young teachers to come to, taking away their chapter 20 rights, limiting pay increases, and threatening IPRES. Don't make the situation any worse.
01-25-2021
Arryn Gillespie [Red Oak Community School District ]
Iowas public education has traditionally been a leader in public education across the nation. Allowing funds to be diverted to private enterprises leaves Iowas public schools to service a higher percentage of students turned away by private enterprises with less resources.
01-25-2021
Barb Schwamman []
Public schools are the foundation of our democracy and are a basic function of government, to educate its people, public dollars for public schools. Simply stated please say NO on SSB 1065. It will hurt 94% who go to public schools
01-25-2021
Callie Kane []
This bill opens Iowa schools to grift, discriminatory practices, and less local control. Calling a voucher a scholarship sounds like an opportunity: NOT TRUE. Vouchers take money from public schools and give it to private schools who are not required to be transparent or equitable in their educational practices. The vouchers are just one layer of bad in this legislation. There are many. Iowas tradition of strong public schools deserves to be maintained.
01-25-2021
Susan LaFollette []
Our schools in Iowa rank 8th in the Nation. Thats cause to show youre doing something right. If you dont think thats good enough for your child, move to another state. Iowa education money needs to stay in the state! Taking money away from the Iowa educational system will only lower Iowas ranking. As an Iowa resident and taxpayer, I do not support this bill.
01-25-2021
Erin Perry []
Student First Scholarships are vouchers. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. WDMCS is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.
01-25-2021
Mark Murphy []
With respect to Division I, I think this bill is a good start to explore Educational Savings Accounts, however, I am concerned this bill still ties a parent's ability to choose an appropriate education for their children to their zip code. I am also concerned it impacts only a relatively small group of current public school families and doesn't assist current families who have already chosen and made sacrifices to attend one of our nonpublic schools. With respect to Division V, there are many positive aspects of this proposal for parents and teachers. The current 25% of the first $1000 spent on tuition has been in play for many years with no increases.
01-25-2021
Nikki Paradise-Williams []
Private institutions have their place in our system, but they should not be funded by taxpayer dollars. A voucher system may help those families that can afford to supplement the voucher to send their children to private schools, but those that can't afford it are left sending their children to a strippeddown public school that will lack the resources to serve students at the level the state requires.Along with our nonaffluent populations, what about those students that require an IEP to help them learn to their best ability? Or those that are gifted? Private schools are not required to meet their needs. All students deserve to grow (at least) one year's worth of growth each year they are in school. Nothing requires this of private schools.Our children deserve a public education that is fully funded. Currently, public schools lack the funding necessary to meet student needs to the fullest. Public school administration, teachers, and staff have gone without for far too long. Our children deserve better.
01-25-2021
Ryan Dow []
I would like to write to you today to express my opposition to the proposed bill. I am fully in support of private schools and the service they can provide, however if a person wants to send their kid to a private school that is their decision and public money should not be diverted to pay for that. This is just a scheme to pull money away from our already underfunded schools. Additionally, the State has interpreted the CDC guidance on reduced transmissibility among the school age population to support their predetermination that schools need to provide in person instruction. What that decision fails to account for is that although they are less at risk for transmission, with the new variants identified in the UK and South Africa, those variants have increased transmissibility and increased mortality, even among school aged children. The State seems to be for local control until in conflicts with their ideology, then they want to take control away from the local jurisdictions. Although parents can still choose to have their person go virtual, the teachers have no choice and this amounts to lining them up in a firing line and telling them 1 out of 5 will get sick and 1 out of 1012 will have to die. Our teachers are spread too thin as it is. Why are we forcing them to make these choices between their lives and their financial health when the virtual model if done correctly can be very effective and they can still work full time. The current hybrid model is working to keep transmission lower. If we just wait 6 weeks there should be enough vaccines around that a significant portion of teachers will have it, and we can then go back to in person learning, which is what they want to do anyways. Stop treating our teachers, as if they are criminals while calling them heroes out the other side of you mouth. If they are heroes, treat them as such.
01-25-2021
Linda Lewis []
Let me be clear and right to the point.....I am against this voucher program for several reasons:1. In normal school savings scholarships, parents put away their own money slowly over time. Since it is there own money, they can use it however they wish. This voucher program allows people to use MY taxpayer dollars however they wish. MY taxes are meant for children to attend state public schools that are regulated by the state in my district. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.2. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. 3.Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. My school district is required to report academic results to the public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds. Once you open the door to this voucher program, where does it end?Please vote no on this bill, for education and for our citizen's rights.Thank you,Linda Lewis
01-25-2021
Crista Grant []
The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability.
01-25-2021
Cindy Taykowski []
This Bill would undermine public education. No.This Bill cannot move forward. If parents choose for their children to go to private schools, private schools can create their own scholarships from private donations.
01-25-2021
Megan Thomsen []
I am writing to ask you to not consider SSB 1065. Public money should only be used for public schools. Public schools are open to all students and do not turn away based on race, religion, gender identity, or disability. Private schools can, and many times do turn away students and therefore should not be given public funding. Also, public funds require transparency and accountability. This is why public schools are required to provide information requiring finances, audits, etc. to the public. Private schools are not required to submit this type of information to the public, which is not acceptable to the taxpayers in our state. Unless the state of Iowa decides to hold private schools to the same standards as public schools regarding the acceptance of ALL students and transparency of financial expenditures to its taxpayers, I plead with you to reject SSB 1065. Thank you.
01-25-2021
Cindy Berns []
Thanks for introducing this bill. I believe America/Iowa is based on freedom. Freedom to choose. As for funding, parents are paying the property tax to pay school funding, let them have a say where their money is spent. Find a way for everyone to pay equally besides property tax.
01-25-2021
Debra Barry []
As a born and raised Iowa citizen I know first hand how beneficial public education is for our citizens and our state. I grew up in rural Iowa. The school was the backbone of our small community of 900 citizens. I have since dedicated the last 26 years of my life serving as a public school teacher in Marion, Iowa.As a lifelong educator I struggle to see how this legislation will improve the condition of our state. Public schools are funded by Iowa taxpayers. As a taxpayer, I want my dollars to go to public schools for a variety of reasons. Private schools do not adhere to the same transparency rules. Secondly, vouchers will hurt our rural communities by pulling valuable resources from their schools. Iowa has a long history and tradition of education. Our students currently outperform the states with vouchers. This legislation seems to be created for a problem we do not have.Teaching during the pandemic has been a challenge, but also a chance for schools, families, and communities to rise to the challenge. I invite you to ask the parents and families in my community and school district where they want their tax dollars to go and how their experience with education has been. In the last few weeks, I have seen the Governor come at education with brutal attacks in ways that do not support our profession. This is a time when we should be working together and supporting our fellow humans. Schools in Iowa have followed every single guideline put out by the Governor. Yet, she continues to attack the work we are doing.As an Iowan, I want my state to grow. Teachers will not stay in our state if they feel devalued. This legislation will not only hurt our schools and communities, it will hurt the profession. Being a teacher is an honorable profession. It is time to send a message to educators across our state that our Iowa Legislators do care about the work we are doing.
01-25-2021
Bret Miller [Newton Community School District]
I am deeply concerned about the possibility of increasing funding and additional access to school choice. I am currently an administrator in Newton, but have worked in districts larger and smaller throughout my career. I have also worked in multiple atrisk settings. While I believe all students should have access to high quality education, expanding school choice, open enrollment and/or charter schools will likely not have the impact you are looking for. Based on research, it will have a disproportionate benefit to the more affluent students and families in our state. Even if we could provide transportation (which would be even more money taken away from public education), lowincome and marginalized populations are less likely to choose a school outside of where they live. As long as educational funding continues to be primarily based on student enrollment, schools who lose students to school choice will be forced to cut budgets. This does not provide for school improvement in potentially struggling schools like Gov. Reynolds spoke about. Instead, it sends money to the "choice" schools that are more likely already succeeding and serving more affluent, high performing students.I have worked in Arizona, where there are many charter schools. It did not help the overall achievement of the schools. I also worked in Mexico, where I saw the disparity between the public schools and private schools. I fear that if we continue down this path that is exactly where we are heading.
01-25-2021
Elise Seery [Student Iowa City West]
The government funds public services. Public school is a public service. Keep the private sector separate and stop punishing and limiting kids who need public school. These are children, please stop using us for your political agenda.
01-25-2021
kelli haught []
As an Iowa tax payer, I am opposed to Iowa tax dollars going to private schools. It will have a negative effect on underprivileged students, students with disabilities and rural students. This will secure a further divide. Public funds should go to public school.
01-25-2021
Susan Lucas []
I do not support tax payer dollars being used to fund private education. I do not support this bill.
01-25-2021
Anthony DeCapio []
I have lived in quite a few states around this country California, Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and West Virginia before my current home in Iowa. Every one of those states that implemented school choice or school vouchers was far far worse in terms of public education and corruption.I will share one quick horror story I saw when I lived in Florida, which has been doing a school voucher program for a very long time now with absolutely no change in the education level of its children: tax dollars had been diverted to a company that promised better results I had the opportunity to see a sixth grade class in action. There was no licenced teacher in the room, just some kid from a nearby college who was going after an education degree. Though it hardly mattered that he was unqualified as his job was simply to hand worksheets to the dozen or so children in the room who quietly worked on the worksheets in their cubicles. Yes, cubicles. The worksheets have haunted me to this day because they were worksheets where the children were asked to count how many apples two people had and to colour them in this was kindergarten level work, maybe even preschool. These were not mentally challenged children; these were sixth grade students being kept six, maybe seven years back because it was more profitable to just throw worksheets at them without an accredited teacher. The damage that has been done in Florida is just incalculable. And the school choice terror that has been wreaked upon Florida keeps coming up with new horrors every day at the full cost of millions upon millions of Floridians' tax dollars:Two months ago a private school had hired a sex offender who made sex tapes with his K8 students.One month ago an investigation found private schools across Florida were hiring high school dropouts.And I am sure at this point you're thinking that "well, that's Florida's implementation. I'm sure Iowa won't have these problems." The Florida program is the exact same "scholarship fund" legislation that Governor Reynolds is using and wants to pass. Diverting hundreds of millions of Iowans' tax dollars to private corporations who will give Iowa these Florida level problems is an abdication an admittance that the legislature, unable to deal with the problems they see in public education, would rather hand those problems off to unaccountable private corporations and let them take our simple Iowa problems and turn them into massive Florida nightmares.I beg of you, do not do to Iowa what this legislation has done to Florida.For further reading, you can google any of the following stories:Florida lets voucher schools hire dropouts as teachers ... and keep it secret State seeks answers from Orlando private voucher school where teacher faces sex video chargesOr feel free to read through the Orlando Sentinel's incredible piece on Schools Without Rules
01-25-2021
Jillian Baker []
Is the senate chamber determined to increase educational inequality in Iowa? There are definitely places in public schools that this money needs to go to, but clearly piling money on for people who already have it is a first priority in this state. To reiterate what others have said, if it is a public dollar, then it should not go towards private interests. Instead, our governement is making charter school kids a priority over the hundereds of thousands of kids who go to public school. Not only that, but this bill would create a feedback loop in which (possibly even lower) middle class students (friendly reminder that poor people exist) would apply and attend.The concentration of middle class students would provide the illusion that these schools are doing magically better because of the funding (when in reality all we've done are remove poor children, which is proven to improve avg test scores, etc.) These schools, in turn, get overfunded and all 1400 public schools would begin to lose enrollment, which would result in lower funds for public schools. Effectively, this bill would destroy government funded schools in Iowa. Public schools are already underfunded, but to me this bill makes it clear that Iowa law makers would rather invest in rich futures than implement actual change for people towards the bottom. Typical. I hope that the payout for whoever wrote this bill is high enough to offset the enormous amount of guilt and backlash you will receive if this bill passes.
01-25-2021
Debra Cale [DALLAS CENTER ELEMENTARY]
HelloPlease vote NO to school vouchers!!Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability.Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. DCG is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.Thank youDebra Cale
01-25-2021
Jessica Soukup [Dallas Center Grimes Community Schools]
Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability.Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. DCG is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.
01-25-2021
Trisha Lenarz-Garmoe [JCSD]
I am opposed to the expansion of a voucher system. As a former nonpublic school administrator we enjoyed several supports from Iowa taxpayers and we do not need to expand further supports. This is NOT a public school friendly or supportive measure!! You cannot claim to be a friend to education and support this. Thank you.
01-25-2021
Kris sheldahl []
This is NOT what is best for Iowan students and education!! This is taking money designated for students in Iowa away from those who need it most, only to give it to parents whose students do not need it most, but wish to massively migrate out of the public school educational setting. This is a blatant attempt by our Governor and conservative legislators to get back at public schools for going against her and our former president's ridiculous and harmful message to get all students to 100% inperson learning during the height of our global pandemic thus putting students and families in further jeopardy, and punishing schools for making informed and correct decisions for their own districts. Our Governor and conservative legislator's Presidential candidate did not win, and it is obvious to our state that Ms. Reynolds is introducing this bill as quickly as possible to settle her vendetta. She has made her purposes and feelings quite clear by introducing this bill.She is not doing what is best for Iowa students by introducing this voucher bill. This is her attempt at settling a score, and when it is time for her to run again, we who all vote for what is right and fair for all students in Iowa will remember this.
01-25-2021
Austin Elling [Test]
My wife and I strongly support SSB 1065. Public schools have long had a competitive advantage in their local communities due to their being funded by tax dollars. Tax dollars currently follow each student regardless of what public school they enroll in. The same should be true if parents choose to send their kids to a nonpublic school. Parents deserve to use THEIR tax dollars to educate THEIR children as they see fit. Through this bill, a family could afford to enroll their children in another nonpublic school without having to move to another school district. The support of this bill empowers all families across Iowa to choose the best educational route for their family.
01-25-2021
Kevin O'Connor [Johnston Legislative Action Committee]
If a private school is not open to every child, regardless of a child's abilities, then under this proposed voucher program there is no such thing as "school choice" for thousands of school children throughout Iowa. Furthermore voters want transparency, especially when our tax dollars are being spent for private use. We as taxpayers have a right to know how our tax dollars are being used. Any private school receiving our tax dollars should be required to follow the same rules as public schools. Anything less is simply not fair to our taxpayers and to our students. Iowa public schools have a publicly elected citizen governing board. Iowa public schools are required to have an annual public financial audit, report academic results to the general public, be transparent with how they spend our tax dollars and most importantly Iowa public schools accept all students who want to attend not just a select few. If private schools want our tax dollars then they should play by the same rules as public schools.
01-25-2021
HELEN BURRINGTON []
I strongly oppose this bill. Public dollars should go to public schools. I also strongly believe in choice, but that does not mean public dollars should follow those choices.
01-25-2021
Lois Schultz []
I am writing to let you know that I am strongly opposed to SSB 1065. This bill goes against our commitment to education for all our young people. This bill takes money from public education and directs it to private often religious schools. We need to work on creating unity not further division in our country. Public education helps to level the playing field for all our children. Please reconsider what this bill would mean for Iowa it is not who we are.
01-25-2021
Laura Kerr []
This bill hollows out the public education that our state was built on. Iowa was top in the country for education our state quarter is a school house. With this bill it allows people to take tax payer funded money to go to a school that doesnt have to uphold the same values and traditions of public school in the great state of Iowa. This bill should not continue forward
01-25-2021
Elizabeth Puls []
Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. WDMCS is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.
01-25-2021
Kerri Levi [Norwalk Community Schools]
Dear Honorable Senators and Representatives,Please vote NO to any voucher scheme that has been or may be introduced during the current and future legislative sessions. School vouchers or Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) are not about school choice, but rather about funneling money to private entities that are able to avoid serving the needs of all students from different races, ethnicities, religions, academic abilities, or with disabilities. Public dollars should go to public schools. Taxpayer money needs to have accountability and transparency. Under a voucher system, taxpayer money would not be accounted for and up to the discretion of a students parents or guardian.Taxpayer dollars should be used for education that is inclusive of all students. Nonpublic and religious schools are not required to accept all students.Please vote NO. The majority of your constituents believe firmly in the public school system. Using taxpayer dollars for anything else would be a step towards inequity and injustice. Sincerely,Kerri Levi
01-25-2021
Vanessa Phelan []
I am adamantly opposed to this bill. What our public schools need is to be adequately funded, not to have state money siphoned off into private schools. There is no demand for vouchers in Iowa! There is no evidence that vouchers improve educational outcomes, so I must conclude that any legislator that votes for this bill is taking the side of forprofit charter school companies. Providing direct payments to private schools would undoubtedly leave students behind. Unlike public schools, private schools decide who they will accept. The only ones with the power to make a "choice" because of this bill are private school administrators.
01-25-2021
Jackie Slusinski [West Des Moines Public Schools]
Parents should be able to choose where they want their children to attend school. However, if a parent chooses private schools, they should pay with private funds. If they want to use public funds for their schooling then they should choose public schools. It is not fair the funnel public funds towards private schools that don't have to deal with the same demographic as public schools. Public schools are already woefully underfunded and to take even more money away is a disservice that will only lead to loss of quality staff.
01-25-2021
Deborah McClure []
Yet another Republican attack on our public school system. If Republicans and our governor were truely concerned about education for pure state's children they wouldn't continually undermine funding. All this bill will do is further hurt districts that are struggling.
01-25-2021
Robert Benesh [Johnston Community Schools]
Redirecting public school funds to voucher programs that generally fund private schools (there are only two charter schools in the entire state, and if I understand this bill correctly, it limits the creation of more). Essentially, if you vote for this bill you are: Violating students right to a free and public education Having a potentially devastating impact on low SES students and students of color Destroying the separation between church and state Dooming public schools to massive cuts
01-25-2021
Talon Meyer []
Des Moines, like other large cities, continues to see many families move to the suburbs in search of better public education. I encourage the Senate subcommittee to support this bill so families of all means are not limited to the public education options in their district. Anything else would simply prioritize systems over students.Thanks to our current system, Iowa's urban neighborhoods are becoming more economically and racially segregated. Families with resources move to the suburbs, while those without have only one schooling option. With education choice in Iowa, I expect to see our historic neighborhoods become more attractive to people of all means. Why do some houses currently rot in Des Moines while suburbs experience a housing shortage?
01-25-2021
Mary Roth []
I disapprove of this bill. This is a gross misuse of public funds. States with voucher programs are ranked in the bottom half for performance. This bill provides no benefit for the state at large.
01-25-2021
Katie McDermott []
I oppose any action that drives taxpayer funds away from our public schools. As a state, we must invest in equitable education solutions, which is our public education system. Use our taxpaying dollars to improve the system, to make public school better for all.
01-25-2021
April Heitland []
Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. DCG is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds
01-25-2021
Michelle Wearmouth []
To the honorable chair and subcommittee members,Please note my opposition to the SSB1065 which provides no accountability for the use of taxpayer dollars. Private entities do not have to adhere to the rules for use of funds, and can provide individual benefit instead of greater good. There is no requirements for annual reporting of use of funds which leaves taxpayers in the dark for use of public funds. These private and religious entities do not have to accept every child who applies for an education, and it creates a disparity funded with my taxes. Please do not move this study bill forward as it is wrought with possible future lawsuits to the state for equity. It sends a message that Iowa is not a leader in education, a piece of pride that we have consistently carried. Sincerely, Michelle Wearmouth
01-25-2021
Lisa Noe []
As a teacher and a parent, I agree families should have a choice in where they send their children to school, but I don't believe that taxpayers should foot the bill for parents who choose to send their children to private or religious schools. Public schools not only provide students a quality education, but they also provide their students and families with multiple other valuable and necessary resources (think Maslow's Hierarchy). Public schools are already strapped and our teachers are overworked and underpaid. Taking money from public schools will just make providing those necessary resources even more difficult. While I agree with the parents' option to choose their children's school, I don't believe it should be at the taxpayers' expense. Please reconsider passing this bill.
01-25-2021
Sara Walsh []
Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability.
01-25-2021
Maria Cervantes []
Public schools are under budget cut and now money ot the taxpayers will go to Parish or churches for their schools. This is wrong and deceiving. The governor is stealing from the people of Iowa especially the most vulnerable families. Shame!
01-25-2021
Leah Howard []
As a public school teacher, I strongly object to this bill. Public money should NEVER go to private institutions, especially not private schools. Private schools are not subject to the same accountability that public schools are, and such a bill would not only destroy public education but also pave the way for discrimination.I also strongly oppose this bill as a parent. My daughter has a disability. While she is not yet three, in the coming years, we will need STRONG public schools to help educate our daughter. If this bill is passed, sadly I have no doubt that we will not be able to rely on Iowa Public Schools and we will need to look at leaving the state. Our "school choice" will be to leave the state of Iowa, and put our tax dollars towards a state/system that supports STRONG PUBLIC SCHOOLS.Instead of supporting private schools, this legislature should properly fund and support public schools in order to restore Iowa's reputation as number 1 in education.
01-25-2021
Regina Reinier [Keegan]
I urge you to not pass the bill due to the Students First Scholarships portion. Our public tax dollars should only be going to public schools. These schools accept and support students of all religions, orientations, financial abilities/socio economic status, and more. They are held to a high public scrutiny and that is not required of private schools. Our public schools are already facing significant budget issues and taking away funds from the to funnel towards less regulated and monitored private schools will not help Iowans.
01-25-2021
Sherri Gezel []
I oppose this bill. Iowans are proud to have strong public education. The diversion of public taxpayer money to be used for private schools only hurts the future of this State. Public funds require public accountability. Time to support our educators and use taxpayer money to do so. Private education is a personal choice and personal, private funds are used for that choice not public dollars. Please make the best choice for our students and future leaders.
01-25-2021
Hannah Kroska []
Iowa public education used to be one of the top in the nation. We no longer fall in this high status. Public schools struggle to fund necessary, researchbacked programs now due to funding cuts in recent years. Moving public money away from public schools is not only irresponsible but inappropriate. This voucher program (because SSB 1065 IS a voucher program) will divert money from schools who deserve this funding. Private schools are not held to the same level of accountability or transparency in their reporting or financial audit. Private schools can choose not to enroll students because of disability, gender, religion, race or socioeconomic status. This is discrimination. Funding this voucher bill will indirectly fund discrimination across our educational system. We should want education in Iowa to serve all students. This voucher program takes public funding away from students, families, and districts who are serving all students and gives it to programs with less accountability.As a proud educator in an Iowan public school, I urge you to invest in public schools by keeping public dollars where they appropriately should lie responsibly serving ALL Iowan students.
01-25-2021
Chad Kennelly []
Public funds are for PUBLIC schools. Private schools are perfectly acceptable and all families should have the right to send their children there. If families choose to send their kids to a private school, they need to pay out of their own pockets. Public schools are overseen by an elected school board of community tax payers, private schools are not held to the same standards. Again, public funds are for PUBLIC schools. Please don't go down the same path as Wisconsin because it's ruined their school systems.
01-25-2021
Ananya Albrecht-Buehler []
I strongly oppose this bill. Our public school system is already grossly underfunded, and moving even more tax funds to the private school sector will create a greater divide in academic quality between private and public schools. For underprivileged students who just cannot afford private or charter schools, this bill is denying them an equal education. This form of elitism needs to stop in Iowa. We once took pride in offering a great education to all students, regardless of background or economic status. This new bill is directly going against these values.
01-25-2021
Tim Green [NSCSD]
Invest in Iowas public schools, which educate 94% of Iowa students. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings.More than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings according to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis.Vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.Please consider these as public education is the best option for Iowa students! Tim Green
01-25-2021
Shelly Gentry []
I strongly oppose this bill. Public dollars should go to public schools. It would severely harm rural schools that are already struggling. If parents want to send their children to private schools, then they can fund it themselves.
01-25-2021
David Ferree []
I want to express my strong opposition to this bill. This requires taxpayers to subsidize private education and takes funds away from public schools. The legislature has for years underfunded public education and this would exacerbate that situation. If there is a problem with public schools, fix it. This country was built on creating public schools that provide educational opportunities to all. Any parent can choose to send their children to private schools, they should not, however, demand that taxpayers pay for it.
01-25-2021
Amy Witt [Johnston Community Schools]
I strongly object to this bill. I have taught special education for 20 years in public schools in Iowa and can't imagine losing anymore funding from my program. This bill is designed only to hurt education in this state, not help. Keep public money in public schools.
01-25-2021
Emily Piper [Iowa Association of School Boards]
Attached comments from IASB
Attachment
01-25-2021
Teale Burford []
As a public school teacher in a bluecollar town, I see low, mid, and high SES students every day. I already see the stark achievement gap that lies between our affluent and nonaffluent populations, as well as that between our white and nonwhite students. Sending more public dollars to public schools is badly needed not only to work to close this gap by shrinking class sizes, providing free breakfast and lunch, supplying more paraeducators and full time teachers, and offering opportunities that can be taken advantage of by all students (conferences, workshops, etc), but to simply ensure that every student's learning is funded and the buck is not being passed from the state to the school district. Fully fund our public schools, and you will see our young people flourish, the best of our educators come into the fold, and people coming to Iowa to study. Iowa used to be known for its public education system, and if it were fullyfunded, we would really be able to lift up our citizenry in a way never seen before. At the very least, sending tax dollars to private schools will widen the achievement gap and worsen the state in which our lowest earners will again be left in the cold. Private schools can discriminate against children and familiesthere is no obligation for them to provide IEPS or 504s, and they are notorious for excluding LGBTQ students. Tax dollars would not only go to these schools, but lessen the amount of dollars available to our public schools, which DO provide these muchneeded services.If you want parents to have more choice, fully fund our public schools so they can diversify, attract more people to our state, and provide our great state's people with opportunities seen nowhere else.
01-25-2021
Karen Smith []
I am against school choice voucher unless private and religious schools are held to the same standards of reporting and diversity as public schools. Tax payers dollars should be used for public schools, to support investment in them (and their students) and not for private and religious schools who are supported through their tuition. If such parents want to make that choice, they can do so without taking funds away from public schools. YOU know that underprivileged families will not use that option and will be impacted the most with underfunding of public schools.
01-25-2021
Lisa Scherer []
Our public schools are already hurting for funding. Any effort to help a school needs to go to public schools. Anyone who chooses a private school then also makes the choice to pay for that decision. No exceptions.
01-25-2021
Sarah Determan [West Des Moines Schools]
As a teacher in the West Des Moines Schools as well as a tax payer in Clive, I am highly opposed to the SSB 1065: Student First Scholarship Program. Public funds must be used for public education. While school choice sounds nice, what it really does is take funding away from the public schools, rather than providing the funding and resources away that public schools need to provide a quality education to our students. Yes, parents should have a choice but NOT with tax payer dollars. Public funds for public programs.
01-25-2021
Bridget Fagan Reidburn []
I am adamantly opposed to this bill. What a slap in the face to educators and families who have been doing their best during the pandemic. We must support public schools who are the backbone of our communities.
01-25-2021
Heidi Marean []
Public dollars are for public schools!!
01-25-2021
Rhys South [tax payer]
I am opposed to this bill as it is written. I am not opposed to vouchers, but this bill is written to cater to the home school lobby. I do not want my tax dollars supporting people who choose not to participate in accredited education institutions. I would support a voucher plan that is used for attendance at any accredited school, online or inperson. This bill would allow home schoolers to use my tax money for things I have to pay for myself for my children. Consideration would also need to be given into the constitutional legality of this. Open enrollment was gutted by the urban schools by using federal busing laws, I don't see how this would be any different for those students trapped in poor urban schools.
01-25-2021
Holly Glade []
Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools that are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. We have a long history of supporting public schools in this state. It is disappointing to see the legislature considering a move away from this. The few states that have adopted similar programs have enacted them in response to failing education systems and have seen poor results. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. Public school districts are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.Parents should and do have school choice in Iowa, but it should not be paid for through public funds.
01-25-2021
patrick phelan []
This bill is dangerous for our kids, schools, and the future of Iowa. It has shown in similar implementations to be not just ineffective, but counter productive and have negative outcomes for the schools, kids, and communities. This is not something iowans want, this is outside money pushing for irresponsible and dangerous actions. This bill should be killed immediately.
01-25-2021
Michaela Crann []
Public tax dollars should be used to fund our public offerings, specifically our schools. Public schools are already struggling to provide all necessary resources for students, by setting money aside for families to choose private school you'll be taking away even more from our public schools. Public schools serve the greater good, society benefits from public schools, even people/families/businesses that don't utilize the public school system directly will benefit from the impact our schools make. Public schools are held accountable by publicly elected officials but private schools are not required to do so. Public schools must teach ALL students, while private schools can turn students away.Giving families a choice in what form of education is best for them is great, there is no issue with providing choices. The issue comes with using tax dollars to fund private entities, while having differences in accountability and the right to turn away students. Public schools will never be able to perform better and do more if they're continually underfunded.
01-25-2021
Tim Brown []
Equality of education for our Children can only be provided when the parents have the ability to choose the best education for their Children. Parents who do not have the economic capability to choose should be provided the option of assistance to make the choice for their Family. Public funds for education are provided on a per child basis and provide the highest and best value for the State of Iowa when those funds are being used to educate that child to achieve their highest potential.
01-25-2021
Jans Madsen []
I urge you NOT to support this bill. Public funds should go to public schools only. No vouchers. No charter schools.
01-25-2021
Nicole Jespersen [Mother and teacher]
Public dollars should go to public schools. Taxpayer money needs to have accountability and transparency. Under a voucher system, taxpayer money would not be accounted for and up to the discretion of a students parents or guardian. Approving a limited voucher program may seem innocuous but experience tells us that this is the first foot in the door for a fullscale voucher program. Taxpayer dollars should be used for education that is inclusive of all students. Nonpublic and religious schools are not required to accept all students, nor to numerous other regulations and requirements that public schools are. The playing field is not the same in public and private schools. Weve heard for several years that legislators would like to give more to public schools but the money just isnt there. If we cannot fund public education appropriately, how is it that we can fund private schools?
01-25-2021
Scott Bengtson [Clinton Board Member]
I strongly oppose this bill as a Board member, parent, and tax payer. This bill takes money that could be used to help our underfunded public schools and diverts it to private schools. Most of these private schools cater to a more affluent class and are not required to accept and fund the education for all students, specifically those with learning disabilities. Please keep Iowa schools at the high level they historically have been at and vote NO. Thank you for your time and consideration.
01-25-2021
Heather Schmedinghoff []
I strongly oppose this bill. Public dollars belong in the public schools. As a parent of two public school children who is actively involved in my children's school, I am very well aware most parents do not know how many choices exist already. We do not need to syphon money away from the public school system. Public money is there to support the public school system. Our state senators and representatives should be celebrating the choices that already exist in Iowa public schools and work toward fully funding these choices so all children can succeed. Vouchers do not allow for transparency. They allow for our legislature to hide where money is being spent by providing a tax credit rather then including the money up front in a budget. I've heard many members talk about fiscal responsibility and complain about how much money goes to education out of the state budget. Supporting our public schools should be a source of pride. Of course funding the service industry of education is expensive. You can choose to fully fund it now or build more prisons later. Teachers are trained professionals who when given the resources support their community. They spend their salary in the local community, in our churches our civic groups our small business. When teachers succeed the community will succeed. Fully funding the education of all students is the goal. I have also asked my senator and representative to explain how this will help those students who are most in need and they are unable or choose not to answer. This is shameful plain and simple. When I moved to Iowa it was first in the nation in education. I looked forward to raising my children in a strong public school system. Instead in the time I have lived here education has been underfunded and the results are staggering. I find my self considering moving because education has been underfunded so dramatically. Fully fund public school with public dollars plan and simple. Funding other forms of education should be off the table until the public schools are fully funded. This plan has failed in other states. We have examples of it being implemented and it failed. We should be able to look at these examples and learn not repeat the same mistakes. This bill is a mistake and will harm children in Iowa.
01-25-2021
James Dostal []
The legislation is wrong. I am not a Democrat or Republican, I am an Iowan, born and raised here. With that stated I was educated in some of the best public schools in the country and it was because of taxpayers paying for that fundamental education that not only myself but other young citizens of Iowa could propel and achieve higher levels in our society. The concept of public education was created to extend opportunity to all citizens in a fair and equitable way. We could argue that school funding attempts to do just that but having dollars chase students because of this proposed legislation is not the way.Parents still have school choice. Parents even have choices on how they lead and nurture the education of their child at home. No one nor any government can stop that process but to systematically change what at one time was one of the top states in America to educate your son or daughter is troubling and warning sounds should be going off in every corner of the state. If our educational system has schools that are underperforming the real question is what are we going to improve specific to that school. Let us not speak in generalities but let us focus on how to specifically solve this problem. This situation needs more thought then this one piece of legislation. A great experiment, because that is what this is, an experiment with young people's lives as far as their future is concerned is to look at the state of Florida. Dig deep, see how it is working there. I would caution you the results have not become the unequivocal success that it was promised to the citizens of that state. Ironically, the very people that are attempting to pass this legislation for the most part are people that were educated in the public school system or were they? Either way it becomes a fundamental problem to why is this being done at this time.Dr. James Dostal
01-25-2021
Patricia Rodda [Johnston Community School District]
I feel compelled to comment on the SSB 1065 bill. I have to say, I was appalled at the possibility of this bill being passed by our Iowa legislators. Our public schools have been suffering and stretched beyond capacity for the last 10 years or more. Teachers are forced to provide classroom materials out of their own pockets to meet the needs of their students. Materials have been denied due to the cost. Our public schools are deteriorating due to inability to afford the cost of renovation and remodeling even at the lowest level. We are unable to afford knowledgeable and experienced teachers, again, due to the cost. Placing this burden on our already strapped school budgets, is unconscionable. Our students from low socioeconomic levels deserve the best quality education as do our financially stable families.Pulling this money from our schools to finance private schools would result in an even lower quality education and burden our teachers even more. I strongly oppose this bill as a special education teacher for grades 3rd through 5th. I urge you to vote NO on this bill and save our public schools.
01-25-2021
Lynda Peterson [Retired teacher]
As a retired public school teacher, I do not support this bill. It will harm our public school system.
01-25-2021
Brianna Brewster []
Please oppose this bill as it would have disparate impact and increase gaps in equity.
01-25-2021
Sharon Reinardy [Osage Community Schools]
As an Educator and parent, I am not in favor of the one size fits all when it comes to this bill. Vouchers are not good for all or most and definitelynot in the interest of what is best for kids. As a School Counselor, I see first hand the mental health concerns our students are facingduring this pandemic. Districts should determine if it is safe to offer inperson classes, whether that be full timefive days per week, a hybrid or all virtual.Currently, the Osage Community School District offers 4 inperson days and one asynchronous online learning day each week. The asynchronousmodel allows students to complete the required assignments when it works for them and their family.Our model allows educators to be available to connect with students who are fulltime remote online learners. There is a dedicated day each week where educators are able to connect with online students,studentswho are struggling or who may need more instruction. These students are able to come into the buildingson those days to receive assistance. Many of our students with IEP'scome into the building to receiveuninterrupted supports and accommodations to assist their learning.This bill creates a further divide between the haves and the have nots. Those with resources to transport their children to privateschools or schools with better resources will do so, leaving districts without resources to fall further behind without financial support if funds are attached to the student.This bill is also offensive to Educators, assuming they are happy with the current situation or don't wish to be full time inperson learning. It discounts their flexibility and hard work to provide a quality education to all students while meeting the specific needs of every student. It assumes they are not working harder to provide aneducation under blended models, when I can tell you first hand, it is a daily challenge to provide to every learner.Becoming anEducator is considered a noble profession and this is due to the impact they have on future generations. It is a profession of flexibility and going beyond expectations, to encourage this in our students. I assure you this is happening in our district and districts across the state. Local control allows us to continue to do our jobs to the best of our abilities and not a one size fits all bill that further divides students and benefits only those with the most resources.Please do not support this bill as it doesn't support all or even most of your constituents.Thank you,
01-25-2021
Karla Snodgrass []
NO is the right choice for Iowa and its future. Our students deserve to be supported.
01-25-2021
Terrence Loeb []
I do not think SSb1065 would be something that would help the school system in Iowa.Dropping open enrollment period will be basically be the end of parity in high school athletics, might as well go to club sports.I have been a coach and teacher in IA for 25 years.
01-25-2021
Arlene Heynen []
I support empowering parents and increasing their options in choosing the best education for their children. Thank you for this bill and for considering ways to improve access to quality education for all students in Iowa.
01-25-2021
Heather Isaacson []
Please vote no a resounding no to this bill and protect our students from further systemic inequities in education.
01-25-2021
Suzie Pearson [Wallace Elementary]
It is appalling to me that public funds would be diverted to supporting private entities. The publics investment should be used to support public schools that are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Private schools have the choice of who they want and don't want in their system public schools do not. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. JCSD is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.Have you done any research on how this has worked in other states? It hasn't. Iowa education has always been strong. Why do you want to erode the success that our students and families have experienced in our Iowa public school systems? Moving in this direction is an abuse of your role as a state representative. You represent all, not just those that have the means to be successful.
01-25-2021
JIm Hagenbucher []
I support SSB 1065. Thank you for reviewing options to improve student learning and allowing Iowa families to consider a choice in educational services. As a product of the Iowa public school system, I am grateful for the education I received. My wife was a product of an Iowa private school system and she is grateful for the eduction she received. When it came time for our children to attend school, we chose to send them to a private school and were grateful we had that choice. The real issue with this bill is that it allows more families to choose the educational system that is right for their family. Given that the language of the bill states will come from the general fund of the state and NOT impact the school funding, I struggle to understand those that oppose this bill. "appropriatedfromthegeneralfundofthestatetothe19departmentofeducationtobecreditedtothefundtheamount20necessarytopayallstudentfirstscholarshipsapprovedfor21thatfiscalyear."
01-25-2021
Adam Witosky []
School vouchers will, and are intended to, undermine and cripple public education for the profit of private organizations. They are bad for the public, for education, and for society. Leave the public resources in the public schools. Vote NO on school vouchers.
01-25-2021
Andie Olson []
I STRONGLY object to this bill!!! Our public schools are already underfunded. Public education needs to become a priority in our state. Give local control back to local schools!!
01-25-2021
Nick Westergaard [Brand Driven Digital]
I strongly OPPOSE this bill. It will hurt our already struggling and underfunded public schools at a time when they need more supportnot less. Iowa used to stand for excellence in education. And it can again by focusing on funding Iowa's public schools. Not diverting funds to private institutions.
01-25-2021
Natasha Flug []
Public funds should benefit public schools ONLY. I oppose this bill and vote no.
01-25-2021
Roger White []
As a graduate of an Iowa public school, as a parent of a daughter who attended our local public school, and as a former teacher in the public school system, I strongly oppose these attempts to undermine public education by diverting tax revenues to unaccountable, private schools. Our public schools are the "melting pot" where children all backgrounds interact. The result of these proposed measures will further damage public education that has already been stressed by years of under funding. This is a pure political tactic that will harm future generations of Iowa's children if adopted. I urge a NO vote.
01-25-2021
Shanda Carstens []
Vouchers and Charter Schools are WRONG for Iowa. We taxpayers have the right to expect that the same rules and transparency required of public schools be required of other private schools and public charter schools that accept public funding. In Guthrie County we don't even have a place to spend a voucher. 240 of the 327 Iowa school districts don't have a private school in their district. We don't need more money funneled from rural schools to Des Moines. After learning from parents in Arizona who have lived this legislation, rural public schools lose valuable resources with no "choice" option. This legislation is from out of state and thats where it belongs...not in Iowa. We have a history of being a leader in education in Iowa. We know how to do this and vouchers and charter schools AREN'T in that playbook. Please vote NO.
Attachment
01-25-2021
Maneesh Kumar []
I strongly oppose this bill. Our children deserve better than this lunacy.
01-25-2021
Terri Dial []
I strongly object to the use of taxpayer money for private schools. Our public schools need our full support.
01-25-2021
Ashley Augspurger []
Vote no! We have public schools for a reason. If that funding is taken away and given to private schools, public schools will have nothing. They already barely have any funding.
01-25-2021
Bryan Burkhardt []
I am opposed to this bill. I cannot find evidence that similar action in other states improved student achievement. While the department of education has previously striven to pursue equity for our learners statewide (even in a pandemic), this bill moves education in the wrong direction, sadly increasing discrepancies in opportunities between urban and rural areas. Our competition for a skilled, competent workforce is already GLOBAL Why unnecessarily divide our own state? The perceived problems of our public schools are synthetic, lets work TOGETHER to strengthen our educational system for all. Please do not pass this out of committee.
01-25-2021
Colleen Briscoe [DCG Schools]
I do not support the voucher program. Public schools need more funding not less. It is also a policy that is inherently racist and discriminatory towards low income families.
01-25-2021
Katy Runyon []
This bill opens Iowa schools to grift, discriminatory practices, and less local control. Calling a voucher a scholarship sounds like an opportunity: NOT TRUE. Vouchers take money from public schools and give it to private schools who are not required to be transparent or equitable in their educational practices. The vouchers are just one layer of bad in this legislation. There are many. Iowas tradition of strong public schools deserves to be maintained.
01-25-2021
Katie Kruse [Carroll High School Foundation]
I would like to express my opposition to the proposed education bill. I
01-25-2021
Bonnie Calvert []
I attended private school when they were primarily funded by parish support. My children attended public schools and I have grandchildren in both public and private. I have seen class sizes in our public schools grow to 2528 students and sometimes more. I strongly feel that it would be better to use tax dollars to increase support for public schools to meet their needs: smaller class sizes, well trained classroom paras to assist students and the teacher, additional staff to work with students or families who are struggling. Many private schools have ways of supporting scholarships through tax exempt donations and wealthy private donors. When are we going to look out for the mainstream working class. I would also urge you to research the success rate of charter schools. There are many independent studies for review. I did so last year and found that the only successful ones handpicked their students. Many were found to drill students on facts to help them "pass the test", rather than support the thinking process. It would also be beneficial to support students with laptops or iPads and access to internet, and increase school safety systems. FIRST support should fully fund our public schools.
01-25-2021
Hilarie Welsh []
Strong public schools are critical to our democracy. Public dollars need to remain in the public schools. Diverting money through vouchers would harm public schools and would especially impact students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and students with low socioeconomic status. Iowa has long been committed to strong public schools, and vouchers are harmful to public schools. The subcommittee needs to listen to its constituents and oppose SSB 1065.
01-25-2021
Wendy Quam []
I am strongly opposed to SSB 1065 for several reasons. First, Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. Public schools are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools, and this is not acceptable to do with tax payer money.
01-25-2021
Brad Jensen []
How dare you underfund our public schools for a decade and then try to use my tax dollars to fund private education students. You want a taxpayer revolt? This is a great way to trigger it. There is no majority of Iowans asking for this. Why are Republicans intent on destroying public education? Is that your next step in destroying democracy? This is a blatant attempt to segregate schools. It is racist, unjust, unwise, and an affront to Iowa taxpayers. This will not go unchallenged!
01-25-2021
Anthony Spurgetis []
My biggest concern with this program is that we are essentially giving taxpayer funds to private organizations that will have no accountability to a publicly elected board. Who will have oversight over these funds?I do not believe that we should be giving taxpayer funds to anyone and everyone who wants to send their child to a private or religious school. Many of the families who send their children to private and religious schools can afford the tuition on their own. If this bill is to be passed I hope that there is an income cap that prevents wealthy families from benefitting.
01-25-2021
Angie Sylling []
I strongly oppose SSB 1065. As a parent with two children in elementary school in a public school in Iowa, I do not support SSB 1065. Our public school systems are already in need of our support. This bill would be devastating to our already underfunded public schools, and would only increase inequities in our state. I was born and raised in Iowa, and moved back for our children to attend our strong public schools. This bill would not support maintaining a strong public school system in Iowa. When taxpayer dollars are involved, transparency is a must. Our public schools have governing boards that are elected by community members. They are required to be transparent regarding things like academics, finances, spending, and decisions that impact the communities in our public school districts. Private schools are not held to the same state and federal standards required of public schools. It is concerning that private schools do not have to follow the same rules as public schools with "scholarship" programs like SSB 1065, a program using public taxpayer dollars. We are headed in the wrong direction with this bill. We risk devastating our public schools, increasing inequities, and creating an environment which lacks transparency. Our public schools need our support, especially during these challenging times. As a concerned parent of schoolaged children, I strongly oppose "scholarship" programs and this SSB 1065. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my concerns.
01-25-2021
Beth Ferguson []
I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds if private schools get to use public funds.The research does not support that this would improve Iowa's schools. We already have some of the top public schools in the nation, why are we trying to fix something that's not broken.
01-25-2021
Karl Goldsmith []
I am opposed to this bill in how it is written. I see no accountability in how these funds will be used by families. There is an assumption that the funds will be used for education purposes but I read it as the government giving tax payer money to families to use as they see fit. Public schools have to account for how the money is spent and are accountable to the taxpayer. This voucher system is accountable to no one. If enacted, there would be smaller funds for public education which is what taxpayers are paying for. Even people who do not have kids benefit from a good education system. Private schools and religious schools are fine institutions but are not to be funded with taxpayer money. If those institutions were to accept money from this voucher system then they would be getting taxpayer funds. They should then be held to the same expectations as the public schools in that they should have to accept everyone, report to the state, and following the Iowa Core Standards. This would fundamentally change how they operate and make them more like public schools anyways. I do not believe this is what they wanted when they were created. To me, this seems like a way to defund public schools and hurt our education system. It does not improve our conditions by removing funds from schools and allowing parents to use the money however they see fit. While several would do the right thing, this allows some parents to waste the money and ignore their children's education. I remember when Iowa stated its "Foundation in Education." If we truly believe that, we will support our public education institutions with appropriate funding rather than constantly trying to cut budgets. Public schools can only cut budgets so much before they can no longer adequately educate the youth of this state.
01-25-2021
Donna Ford []
I am vehemently opposed to this bill! As a tax payer, I want my money to go to my local public school and have no funds diverted for scholarships or any other means related to supporting vouchers, charter schools, parent choice, etc. Public schools are the backbone of this state and if parents want to send their kids to a private school than let them find a way to do so. Our public school system has been strong until Governor Reynolds stepped in and destroyed so much of the public school foundation and is now using COVID as an excuse to push this bill through when it is not necessary, wanted, or needed. Big money donors who dont even live in this state have no business influencing our educational system. The few parents who have spoken out are nothing compared to those who have not. The majority of schools are open with 100% in person teaching so do not let a few ruin it for the whole. You arent teachers or school administrators so I dont believe you truly know what happens in the majority of schools in this state! This should not be political. Leave things as they are and stop trying to destroy public education now! Not that it matters, but I am not a teacher nor do I work in a public school. However, I come from a long lineage of teachers who taught in public schools and have family who continue to work in public schools so stop trying to tear public schools apart! Instead you need to look at allocating more money to schools to make them stronger considering nothing has been done to help schools combat the COVID crisis. Schools have had to figure it out on their own. Remember, youre up for reelection in 2 short years so what you have done with education in the past and what you do now will not be forgotten!
01-25-2021
Chris Espersen []
Oppose this bill. This is not a choice bill, it REMOVES choice by severely decreasing funding from children who need public education.
01-25-2021
Marilyn Smith []
Do not support the loss of taxes to public schools in Iowa, do not support charter schools. The children in Iowa have done great in Public schools and if you want to send your to catholic schools the parents should pay not taxpayers. I Went to catholic schools 8 years and was so far behind. I have grandchildren in Public and a daughter a teacher and my grandchildren all went on to college as one is a Doctor in Physical therapy. If governor wants charter schools like Betsy in the East the parents can pay tuition not our taxes. I do not support this bill of 1065.
01-25-2021
Crystal Abbe []
Public Education districts have had to continuously par down programming, bricks and mortar projects, and staff raises and benefits. The lack of support directly and negatively impacts the qualities and opportunities within Public Schools. Allowing our legislators to direct more Public Funds to private education will further weaken Public district budgets and will in no way benefit our communities institutions of Public Education. Consider the impact upon our neighborhoods and communities within our largest metro area. Keeping Public Schools healthy and robust, maintains similar characteristics with the communities surrounding schools.
01-25-2021
Kara Rowedder []
I do not support this bill. I attended a public school and my children will always attend a public school. Parents already have a choice in sending their children to private schools. Funding does not need to be allocated to allow this to happen. The students that are in our public schools need the funding more! The public schools in Iowa are fantastic!! Please do not allow this bill to pass.
01-25-2021
Olivia Barker []
I am strongly against this bill. Tax dollars should go to public schools only. Funding for public schools has already been cut over the years and it has left public schools to struggle. It is unfair for the teachers, struggling students, students with disabilities, and rural students whose only choice is a public school. This bill would also give more money to private schools, which are often religious and proselytizing. The government does not need to be supporting private schools.
01-25-2021
Christine Schlotfelt []
I am opposed to SSB 1065 for several reasons. I don't want my tax dollars going to private schools. I can't say that strongly enough. This bill is offensive in so many ways. This bill would drain $$ from public schools, and in particular, from failing schools. In the short term, this bill would promote "white flight" to the top schools, effectively segregating our schools by class and race. Rather than building up the public schools that are failing, this bill would doom them to fail even faster, leaving some neighborhoods without hope of providing their children with a good public education. In the long term, it would effectively privatize education in some neighborhoods. With no good public school options, students would be forced into private schools which are predominantly (Christian) churchaffiliated. This bill is nakedly racist, classist, and proChristian. It blurs the separation of church and state. It will turn education into a forprofit industry rather than for the public good. I think we all know what happens when profit is the driver rather than the public good the rich prosper at the expense of the poor.
01-25-2021
Diane Pratt []
As a current ISEA member, Fort Dodge Community District School Board Member, and public school classroom teacher for over 40 years, I am writing to request that you vote NO on SSB1065, the governors Student First Scholarship Program. I apologize for its lengthiness, but have prepared the following points for your consideration as you discuss with your colleagues.While we can all agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, this choice should not be made with public funds. The cost of that choice is between that family and the private school Student First Scholarships are vouchers, plain and simple. This proposal gives selected parents a taxpayerfunded debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. The selection process lacks equity and transparency. Restricted services at small private schools necessarily eliminates the opportunity for all students to have this choice. And the Governors Student First Scholarships will not cost the state $54 million as she reports; rather funnel those dollars from public schools which are already hugely underfunded, and redistribute to private schools. Lets be clear and transparent about that.Without available data for the 20192020 ISPP report and with current year data also skewed/asterisked, this is not the time to move forward on the governors plan. To allow a student scholarship based on his/her individual progress data two years ago is simply not good business! (Old and incomplete data is never the basis for good decisionmaking whether in business or healthcare.) To adjust the student voucher system at this time does not seem to be a solid decision that is defensible to your constituents.Not only are they not prepared to serve them, private schools do not need to accept disabled and special needs students (because they cannot provide for them.) Without these services, private schools can ensure their student population is not inclusive to these learners. This discriminates against students for whom IDEA and IEPs are a basis for education. Your more needy constituents are, thus, left behind in the Student First Scholarship Plan. Public schools are charged with making sure these students are given quality services to assist their academic, behavioral, and socialemotional development. Public funds support these requirements.Given information for NW and SW Iowa. rural students will be discriminated against in this voucher system. In these rural areas, transportation to a new school would present barriers for most parents. Im sure you are familiar with this map of IA that shows the location of non public schools in our state. https://www.iasb.org/main/downloads/Advocacy/toolkits/ESA/NonpublicSchools.pdfMost are located at least 25 minutes away from a home school district. Some of these private schools are not K12 schools, so older students do not have voucher opportunities.Most private schools in Iowa are religionbased. There is national research data to challenge the benefits of voucher school education in several states (and DC) that already allow this practice: students who left public schools to attend private (Catholic in the research) schools showed no benefit in reading growth and moderate to greater LOSS in math growth. One study suggested the loss was equal to missing 68 days of instruction! The benefits of school choice vouchers need to be studied deeply over time. Again, without sufficient Iowa data for two years, this is not the time to pursue change.Educational instruction does not always fail because of poorly trained teachers or poorly managed districts. Under employment/economics of a community, food insecurity, lack of childcare options, health care, mental health issues, abuse, lack of broadband services, and now lack of Covidremediation are all community contributors that should be addressed before a move of public education funds. Although just over 300 state schools of various levels are in need of assistance, locally, only one elementary school failed to meet ESSA standards. Fort Dodge does not have a failing public school district, but one elementary school with subgroups who are struggling from Iowas other family success factors. Messy questions your constituents want youto ask to determine accountability and provide transparency: To request a move for their child, will a parent be required to provide proof of of the better fit for their child? Will they need to research? Can they just jump ship? Who will discuss/discern this with the parent facetoface? The sending district? The receiving district? Why should they provide this evidence? Why should they not have to provide this evidence? Since most private IA schools are religious schools, will they require voucher students to complete required religion classes? Or will they be exempt because they are funded with public/state monies that provide a separation of state and religion? State funds may annually exceed current annual tuition rates at a given school, providing a savings account for parents if they stay with that school. Is this an education college savings fund? Without parents participating in funding the savings? (Check how many of these families are paying taxes please. ) This year, my child is at an elementary school needing assistance. But next year, my child will move to a middle school that does NOT need assistance. Why should I be allowed to continue to take my education dollars away from my local public school district to attend a parochial/private school? How does one justify this continuation legislatively? Accountability, checks, and balances?I know that it is the intent to make decisions in the best interest of all Iowa students. Implementing the governors voucher system would not be doing so. While trying to address issues in a few large districts, most of the state will not have viable options. If the governor feels that students are truly trapped in a failing school, more effort should be put into supporting the community dynamics so those children are not abandoned. There are so many other priorities that Iowa should be working on besides changing the current educational structure.
01-25-2021
Ashlee Pudenz []
Opposed of the new bill
01-25-2021
Carrie Gosnell []
Vote no to SSB 1065Funding of public schools is tight as it is. It makes no sense to me why we would divert funding from public schools to private ones. Private schools are for those who can afford above and beyond basic needs. Public schools provide for all, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, religion, ethnicity and ability. The money that I pay in taxes are for services provided to the community, not to a select few. This is a gross misuse of public funds. To top it all off, charter schools do not have the same accountabilities that public schools have. We cannot fund a program that we do not have control over. I would think that any Republican would despise spending taxpayer dollars on a program that had no oversight. This makes no sense, and it should be easy to vote no.
01-25-2021
Jeanne Wells []
I am strongly in favor of SSB 1065. ALL families should have the choice for the best possible education for their children and our failing public schools do not offer the best possible education. I saw first hand how poorly our public schools dealt with providing education to their students during the pandemic. 3 of my grandchildren attend Indianola (not even a failing school) and the children received LITTLE to NO educational instruction for the spring semester! My other 2 grandchildren, who attend a poor Catholic school, received exceptional instruction, and they were only in PK and K. The administration and staff, with very little budget, returned from spring break (giving up their own spring break time), with a plan for every student to receive online/distant learning. Those without internet at home were provided a hotspot and a Chrome book to continue their education. The school didn't have enough Chrome books for every child, so those families with technology at home were still able to connect thru the various online portals. This is what education should be for ALL children! Providing choice for parents allows ALL families to access a great school that loves and teaches their children.Do not allow the naysayers to unduly influence your decision. ALL students should benefit from a quality education, not just those in successful school districts.
01-25-2021
Katie Kock []
I oppose the bill.
01-25-2021
Michael Baker []
As a newly retired teacher, I strongly oppose this bill.Any time I see 'failing schools' or 'bad teachers' = Administration Problem!Fix that problem!!!The 3yr probation period for new teachers is an effective tool when you have a quality administrator who uses it correctly. Our HS principal has not rehired when it was appropriate. Over time, we don't have any 'bad teachers'. Our HS has been outstanding in many curriculum and extracurricular areas because we have an outstanding principal.What program is there for training supt/school boards/principals? How to hire? When to hire? How to determine if a teacher can be improved or should not continue?This is the key to eliminate 'failing schools' quality administrators. I've had 5 supts, 6 principals and had both ends of the spectrum.....
01-25-2021
Aubrey Kemerling []
I am in opposition of this proposal.
01-25-2021
Debra Blomstedt []
Public education in Iowa has traditionally been held in highest regard. We pride ourselves on educating all. We've added the opportunity for our students to take many college courses before graduation and yet still offer programs of inclusion for students to succeed and prosper. We are forever addressing the need to shrink the gap between our have and havenot students and this is where I see the redirecting of funds not helping Iowa in its efforts to shrink this gap as well as the gap between regular students and students with an IEP. Not only will this bill redirect finances away from schools that have a more diverse population, but it has the potential to remove part of our student population that enriches the educational experience of others. Our special education preschool program is one of inclusion. It is amazing to see the development of acceptance. Please reconsider rubber stamping this ploy to remove funding from public education.
01-25-2021
Michaela Henriksen []
This should not happen.
01-25-2021
Tom and Carol Narak []
We are opposed to SSB 1065Students First scholarships are, in reality vouchers. Calling them something else doesnt make them appropriate for public funding. Public funds should be for public schools, not private schools. Iowa has a strong tradition of public support of public schools. Local patrons elect local school board members. Local school boards are the most accountable elected positions in Iowa. With a voucher system, who is accountable to the public for the tax dollars being used?A few additional questions to consider: How will the Legislature be accountable with this proposal? Are individual legislators accountable? How will you evaluate the success of your proposal? How will public schools survive in an environment of continued erosion of financial support for SSA by our state?Are you trying to dismantle public schools in Iowa?Please dont try to eliminate public schools in Iowa. Our great state and nation have been dependent and will continue to be dependent upon the concept of ALL children being given the opportunity for success in life by means of a quality education.Tom NarakCarol NarakWest Des Moines, IA
01-25-2021
Shannon Wittrock []
Public school funding should not be affected by private schools.
01-25-2021
Elizabeth VanGundy []
Public schools already are underfunded. This Bill will exacerbate the problem. I oppose this legislation and ask you to vote No.
01-25-2021
Andrea Shultice []
I strongly oppose SSB 1065. Public schools reach about 94% of Iowa children, and provide a quality education to all kids regardless of color, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. State taxes already provide over $65 billion in funding to homeschool and private school settings. As someone who works as a counselor in two rural public high schools in Iowa, and whose spouse works at a public elementary school in Iowa, vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.
01-25-2021
Ashley Schable []
I oppose this bill. Public school funding should not be affected by private schools. I think we need them both, but not at the expense of one another.
01-25-2021
Melissa Peterson [Iowa State Education Association ]
The Iowa State Education Association is adamantly opposed to SSB 1065. Division I creates a voucher program that will cost more than $50 million if those eligible qualify. ISEA believes that public funds should go to support public education the more than 480,000 we serve across the state. Public schools welcome all students and provides a quality learning environment whatever the students income, disability, race, gender or religious status. Instead of penalizing schools identified for "comprehensive support and improvement under ESSA, we wish the Governor would have proposed focused resources to help these schools improve their graduation rates and get off the list. Division II expands charter school proposals and greatly reduces the oversight and accountability of current charter school law by allowing organizers to bypass any local control and elected accountability. Iowa code allows for appropriate application, oversight and transparency of our charter school Storm Lake and Maynard. We believe if Iowans want more charter schools, the current application is sufficient while maintaining accountability for the tax payer. Division III would eliminate voluntary diversity plans, enacted by local school districts that believe their students are best served by ensuring their student population is reflective of the world we live in and that cultural, racial and economical diversity benefits all students in their community. Division V addresses additional tax credits and deductions. While we appreciate the increase in deduction for public educators, we would rather ensure adequate funding of our public schools so that educators would not have to supplement their classroom expenses with their own income. Division VII related to open enrollment changes again causes us to question why the focus is on penalizing districts that are struggling by different federal and state metrics, instead of focusing attention and resources on helping them to best serve their students and communities. And finally Division VIII, ISEA believes that this statement is unnecessary as it is understood that the success of the district, staff and students the board serves is of central interest. We do however believe that this statement should be applied to any entities/organizations/bodies in receipt of tax payer dollars and they all should be good stewards, entrusted with public funds. This would include any private school, home school program and/or charter school, including those proposed by this legislation. Thank you for your consideration.
01-25-2021
Diane Kroeger []
Please do not support or vote for SSB1065.
01-25-2021
Amanda Whaley [Parent/Teacher/School Board Member]
I strongly object to this bill. As a parent, as a public school school board member, and as someone who has spent her whole career working with kids with special needs, this bill makes me sick. Public schools provide free and appropriate education to all students. Public schools provide special education, where nonpublic schools do not have to provide these services and can deny students with special needs. This bill, not only does it help create segregation, but also increases the achievement gap between the haves and have nots. You are taking away funding from schools that are not fully funded already. Senator Zaun, I believe you were in one of my classrooms when I taught special education at Olmsted Elementary, just a few blocks from your store. I know it was a long time ago, the early 2000s, but I wish the visit would have made more of an impact on you seeing what we, public schools, do for all kids.
01-25-2021
Abby Freese-Gute []
I oppose this bill.
01-25-2021
Diane Kroeger []
Please do not support bill SSB1065.
01-25-2021
Mark Nolte []
I write to add my voice to the list of those who oppose this bill which would destroy rural school districts. Public education is the hallmark of our society and should be funded, innovated and constantly improved so that all children can learn for free in our state.
01-25-2021
Greg Stieber []
Hello, I am reaching out to log my concern about public tax dollars being used for private schooling. I can appreciate a parent being able to choose to send their child to a private but do not think that they should be able to do it at the expense of the public schools who would be losing the tax money. A strong public education system is the foundation of a smarter, more resourceful community and taking away resources and giving them to private schools that do not have the same level of oversight and scrutiny is reckless.In no other area of taxation is one able to pull their money out and use it for other resources. If I asked for the state to allow me to pull my money out of the police department so I could hire my own private security or to take my money from the library to purchase books online instead, those would not be deemed acceptable, so why is this?Thank you for time!Greg Stieber
01-25-2021
Michelle Snyder []
I oppose this bill. This hurts our public school systems!!!
01-25-2021
Renae Douglas []
I am writing to register my strong objection to this bill. Public schools are already grossly underfunded. Iowa public schools used to be the gold standard in our nation. Years of poor leadership and purposeful underfunding have changed that. If parents want to utilize nonpublic school they're able to, at their own expense. They can utilize scholarships or assistance from churches or family. Not public funds. Private schools frequently discriminate against children with learning differences or parental marriage status. No public money should pay for discrimination.
01-25-2021
Andy Crozier []
Legislators, Please use this comment as my opposition to SSB 1065. As a superintendent of a school that greatly benefits from "choice" via open enrollment, I fully understand the challenges this bill would bring to the state of Iowa. This bill would start as a small way to funnel public dollars to private schools but ultimately would likely to be expanded to a point where future legislators will have to make choices between funding public schools or private schools. As a taxpayer in Iowa, I want my money going to public purposes only. I also want these public institutions to continue to have a level of accountability to the taxpayer. This means open meetings, open financial records, and high levels of standards for how the institution should perform. As of right now, no private school is required to meet the open meetings law, publicly release financial records, and they are not held to the same standard as public schools. Lastly, this bill will only benefit students in metro areas creating a deeper divide between rural/metro Iowa. Rural public schools in Iowa need our greatest attention and this bill simply does nothing to make them better.
01-25-2021
Casey Fasselius []
I would like to be on record to say I am opposed to SSB 1065. Our taxes should only support public schools in all areas of our state urban and rural. We need to do more to support quality public education for all Iowa children. It's more important than ever to help support our public education and provide the quality that we strive to see. J
01-25-2021
Gayle Allensworth [Shendandoah Community School District]
Invest in Iowas public schools, which educate 94% of Iowa students. Public dollars need to go to public education. Public schools are open to all students without discrimination based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, which are not required to adhere to this principle of equity.Public funds should require accountability and transparency. Nonpublic schools are not held to the same standard as public schools. There is no publicly elected school board or Department of Education regulating and reporting allowable expenditures. The public does not have access to records or public meetings.More than $65 million in state tax dollars already support the education of Iowa students in private and home school settings according to the Iowa Fiscal Policy Project analysis.Vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.
01-25-2021
Jodi Enos-Berlage []
Though I am a proud parent and continuing supporter of a wonderful K8 Catholic school, I respectfully request that you vote against SSB1065 in the strongest possible terms. While school choice sounds like a good idea, choice is not an accurate description of this proposal. Many students, especially in rural areas, do not have nonpublic school options. There is also essentially no choice to send your child to a nonpublic school that is nonreligious. At the same time, student access to the best public school the state can offer is diminished since public schools would lose funding. Nonpublic schools supported by this bill would not be required to accept every student and accommodate and provide for all abilities and special needs. To pass a taxpayer supported education bill that is clearly not inclusive and not equitable in this day and age is unimaginable.Private school boards are not publicly elected, nor required to publicly share how taxpayer funds are being used. Passing a taxpayer funded education bill that provides no transparency or accountability to the public is unacceptable.This bill eliminates taxpayer choice, by forcing support of nonpublic education that is not available or equitable to all Iowa students and that may or may not align with religious beliefs. Tax dollars should be reserved to support public infrastructure that is available to all. Importantly, a highly successful option that provides major support for nonpublic education, students in financial need, and enables taxpayer choice already exists, the STO. I've personally witnessed the many benefits of this program. It's a beautiful compromise that fosters collaboration between public and private schools rather than competition, while at the same time being equitable to taxpayers.
01-25-2021
Angela Owen []
I Oppose the bill to cut any funding for any public school system. These funds are crucial so our kids can thrive with the best resources the school can provide. However I would like To see more data and financials on this bill to fully understand what it entails.
01-25-2021
Candace Gross []
I do not support this proposed bill. A bill hurting public schools in any way should be thrown out immediately. What in the world has our world come to. If people would use their brains, they would knowThis makes absolutely no sense at all.
01-25-2021
Lucy Barker []
I strongly oppose the use of tax dollars to fund private schools. Our public schools should get public dollars and not be used to create an even bigger divide.
01-25-2021
Kathryn Moreland []
I strongly object to this bill. Public tax dollars should not be used to support private schools. Iowa has underfunded schools for the last decade and now to pull funds for people to flee to private schools it is unconscionable. Make no mistake this will destroy small communities throughout Iowa. Schools are the lifeblood of communities. There is no better investment than public education for a society. This will dramatically affect our ability to attract people and businesses to our state.
01-25-2021
Katlyn Clark [West Liberty Community Schools]
I am opposed to SSB 1065. I do not want my taxes supporting private vouchers. We should be proud of our public schools and investing in them.
01-25-2021
Kelli Ladd []
Public tax dollars should be used for public schools only!
01-25-2021
Katie Jaffe []
I oppose creating a student first scholarship program as it will ultimately negatively impact our great public schools in Iowa. Please help our public schools thrive. Its the foundation upon which the majority of our Iowa childrens lives depend. Thank you.
01-25-2021
Kelli Schulz []
Public resources should not be given to private or religious schools that can pick and choose who can be in their hallways. Lets provide public funding to build stronger public educations for all!
01-25-2021
JoAnn Miller []
Please vote NO to SSB1065.Public dollars need to be retained for PUBLIC schools.Vouchers will disproportionately affect rural schoolsgiving them less funding just when they need more assistance. 76,000 of these students have no private option in their county to use anESAGovernor Reynolds cited USNews data with Iowa ranked 8th in the nation in PreK12 education. The 6 states with vouchers rank between 29th and 49th. Why are we looking for solutions at the bottom?Please do the right thing for the majority of Iowa school children rural and urban and vote no to SSB1065.Thank you for listening.
01-25-2021
Amanda Lien []
No vouchers! If you want to improve schools, invest in public schools!! Vouchers are wrong for Iowa!
01-25-2021
Barb Ferris []
I strongly object to this bill!
01-25-2021
Keenan Crow [One Iowa Action]
Today One Iowa Action is releasing a study of nonpublic accredited school antidiscrimination policies. Out of 181 schools, 176 policies were located and analyzed. All policies included in the study with their respective analysis can be found attached and at the following link:http://oneiowaaction.org/20202021nonpublicschoollgbtqpolicystudy/Of those policies, 75% indicated in some way that they would be willing to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Criteria for this included either (1) an explicit statement indicating they would expel students or terminate staff for their LGBTQ status (2) a specific statement reserving the right to discriminate against LGBTQ students and staff (3) listing gender identity and sexual orientation in antiharassment policies but not in their antidiscrimination policies or (4) a specific combination of words in the policy that match associated prohibitionsfor instance a policy stating that sexual immorality will not be permitted with the institutions associated church stating that homosexuality is sexually immoral. Only 15% of these schools affirmatively listed gender identity and sexual orientation as protected characteristics. The remaining 10% either hadn't posted a nondiscrimination policy, or their nondiscrimination policy didn't indicate in any way how it would handle complaints regarding sexual orientation or gender identity. These nonpublic schools have every right to teach their religious principles as they see fit. They have every right under Iowa law to permit discrimination in this way. However, there is nothing that obligates taxpayers to provide support for institutions that intend to permit discrimination. Iowa nonpublic schools have told us loud and clear what they will do when permitted to discriminate; a measly 15% have protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. We are wholly opposed to voucher programs like the ones contained in this bill for this reason. Public dollars should stay at public institutions where discrimination is prohibited by law.
Attachment
01-25-2021
Greg Madsen []
I am strongly opposed to SSB 1065. I believe it would undermine our public schools, especially those in rural areas. Please do not pass this bill. Taxpayer funds for education should be going entirely to our public schools so that all Iowans have equal opportunity and access to education.
01-25-2021
Bailey Knaack []
This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.Please consider the good that a fully funded public school can do, and vote against this program.
01-25-2021
Jill Johnson []
As an education professor, school board member, and parent, this billdoes nothing to advance quality education for all students. Iowa students and families deserve betterinvest in improving public schools not dismantling public education.
01-25-2021
Joe Stutting [North Scott Community School District]
I have spent a lot of time reading this bill. I really question why we need a bill like this with so many educational issues. I would like to see each issue stand on its own bill. I also question how we would consider supporting 3 systems in Iowa (Public, Private, and Charters) when we can't even properly fund the current public system? I would ask that SSB 1065 not be supported.
01-25-2021
Sarah Wilson []
I am writing to you to express my concern with the Governors "Students First Scholarship" program, currently Senate Study Bill 1065. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, who are not required to admit and serve students equitably.Public schools are many things that private schools are not:1. Open access to all learners!2. Governed by publicly elected, citizen boards3. Required to report academic results to the general public4. Produce an annual public financial audit5. Transparent with all expenditures and decisionmakingPrivate schools are not required to do any of these things at the state level. We know our public schools are not perfect, but they are serving all children and doing so with accountability. Especially at a time when our public schools are facing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, available resources should go to support the more than 480,000 public school students in all 99 counties.Please Vote No on Senate Study Bill 1065. Thank you for carefully considering the implications of this proposal for all children in the state of Iowa.
01-25-2021
Katie Fahey []
I support the taxpaying parents' right to choose the best educational setting for their child. Funding that is set aside to educate a child should follow that child to the district or school of the parent's choosing.
01-25-2021
JoAnn Miller [Private retired citizen]
Please vote NO to SSB1065.***Public dollars need to be retained for PUBLIC schools. ***Vouchers will disproportionately affect rural schoolsgiving them less funding just when they need more assistance. 76,000 of these students have no private option in their county to use anESA. ***Governor Reynolds cited USNews data with Iowa ranked 8th in the nation in PreK12 education. The 6 states with vouchers rank between 29th and 49th. Why are we looking for solutions at the bottom?***Please do the right thing for the majority of Iowa school children rural and urban and vote no to SSB1065.Thank you for listening.
01-25-2021
Jane Schildroth []
This idea is a mistake because it will weaken schools that are already struggling. Put the dollars into improving our public schools for all who attend and NOT into private schools.
01-25-2021
Gary Zmolek [Gary Zmolek]
SSB 1065 singles out poorly performing schools as targets for vouchers. The presumption is that students using vouchers would travel to better private schools and improve their academic performances. Studies in Indiana and Louisiana, two states with voucher systems, show that students who moved to private schools in fact performed worse than they had in the public schools they left. SSB 1065 proposes no oversight of schools receiving voucher money regarding student performance. Do we really want to use public money to support private schools when there is no guarantee nor any way perhaps to find out if students will improve in these private schools? Are there, in fact, adequate, if not demonstrably superior private schools in the areas of the 34 schools singled out in SSB 1065? Do these schools have adequate facilities, enough staff, etc. to accommodate a possible influx of students using vouchers?
01-25-2021
Nancy Gates Madsen []
I strongly object to SSB1065. Our public schools and teachers need more, not less, financial support. Public dollars should go to public schools, and public funds require public accountability and transparency. This proposed legislation would also disproportionately benefit residents in urban areas and penalize those in rural areas. We need legislation that will create unity, not division. Oppose vouchers.
01-25-2021
Deb Porter []
Please don't approve vouchers. Doing so will only make a bigger gap between the haves and the have nots. Vouchers will promote segregation and take money away from our already underfunded schools.
01-25-2021
Gregory Hetrick []
Public money should go to public schools only, I urge you to drop ESA, Vouchers, or "scholarships" from this bill. Iowa used to pride itself on public education, this bill would ensure its decline.
01-25-2021
Clare Nagl []
I feel that private schools are a great option but should not be funded by the general public. The public schools are lacking in funding the way it is & by directing funding to private schools, this will only hurt the public schools further. It is not a requirement to attend private school. It is a choice. Paying for that choice is a part of that decision. Just as opting for a public school education that is funded is a choice.
01-25-2021
Brad Buck []
Having choice options available for families in Iowa is a great thing and they already exist in a number of forms. That's what is wrong with this Bill... SSB1065 puts in place what is already known about vouchers in their various forms... it will lead to further segregations in our schools, limited options for students in traditionally underserved groups, private money going to private enterprises, including religious organizations, lack of oversight and transparency, etc.Public funds are for public schools, that are accountable to the public, and serve all students. A bill that covers 5060+ pages should have significant discussion and opportunities for public comment and feedback. And, given what I am reading in the comments, there are a variety of viewpoints on the subject, mostly opposed.
01-25-2021
Bobby Outterson-Murphy []
I am appalled by the legislation proposals for education reform being considered today and this week. Wellfunded and high performing public education protects the longterm wellbeing of our society, and as such it ought to be honored, protected, and resourced with no less prioritization than the military. The discussion around diverting funds away from an already underfunded public school system to charters, unfortunately, prioritizes saving a few bucks with the allure of "parental choice" to truly improving educational opportunities for children. I have lived in states like New Jersey where charter schools have siphoned off resources with much less accountability. The result almost always was that parents went from having 1 underfunded and underperforming school to send their kids to, to having the freedom to choose between multiple underfunded and underperforming schools to send their kids to although on several occasions the charter schools lied about their performance by doing things like kicking failing students out of school in order to improve their graduation rates, which public schools couldn't do. As a father of 3 young children, I worry about the quality of education they could receive in Iowa if our elected officials sabotage the public education system we entrust to their care.
01-25-2021
Alyssa Tauber []
Most private schools already offer scholarships. There is no need to funnel public, taxpayer, money into private schools. Public schools help the most students and often those most at risk. Keep taxpayer money for the public schools only.
01-25-2021
Christie VanWey [Marion Independent School District]
I urge you to vote no on Senate Bill 1065 regarding school vouchers, charter schools and open enrollment changes.Tax dollars should be used to support public schools. 1) All Iowa students have access to free public education. 2) Private schools do not have the same accountability and transparency as public schools. 3) Public schools provide a high quality education to ALL students, regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status. 4) Private schools are not required to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 5) Private schools are not required to admit any and all students6) Vouchers redistribute tax dollars to private entities. Studies show that students using vouchers to attend private school perform no better than their public school counterparts. Public schools cannot afford to have tax dollars taken away from their community to fund private schools. This past year has shown our communities the value of public schools. We have also seen the impact in person vs. at home instruction has on students and families. Now is not the time to show our public schools that you do not support them. As a Business Manager in a public school, I see this bill as one of the most dangerous and harmful for public education. Please vote no.
01-25-2021
Edward Wallace []
As a father of a public school child with special needs, husband of a 10 year veteran teacher who has CHOSEN to work in an at risk school, and a VP of an afterschool nonprofit that serves a high needs school in greater Des Moines, I am in very serious opposition to efforts at the statehouse to divert public education dollars to private schools through voucher, education savings accounts. Public Education districts have had to continuously par down programming, bricks and mortar projects, and staff raises and benefits due to lack of funding realistically indexed to costs of living, etc. The lack of support directly and negatively impacts the qualities and opportunities within Public Schools. Allowing our legislators to direct more Public Funds to private education will further weaken Public district budgets and will in no way benefit our communities institutions of Public Education.Please do not create a twotiered education system. Instead, listen to teachers and districts. Invest in school mental health professionals, social workers to work on the whole family and community surrounding the school, supplies so teachers can educate with state of the art resources. You have the power to ensure education is level for all children. Rise the tide so all boats sail. Edward
01-25-2021
Keith Petersen []
I oppose this bill!! Bad, bad, bad for public education.
01-25-2021
Susan Adair []
When I moved here from Kentucky twenty years ago, I was so excited to be moving to a state that valued public education. It is on the state quarter, after all.Since then, I have watched as the legislature has continuously stripped funds from the public schools. Even in years when they gave their own offices increases to cover inflation, they denied our schools any increases. When they have received increases, it has been meager.So, now, we have underfunded public schools. Some would take even more money away and give them to private schools. That is unacceptable. We need to fully fund our public schoolswhich reach ALL Iowans and impact the state by providing an educated work force for our businesses. When our public schools are fully funded to meet the needs of their students, THEN we can talk about using public monies to fund private schools.Until then, public monies should ONY be used for public schools.Public monies are for public schools.I urge you to protect our Iowa heritagestrong public schools. I urge you to vote NO on SSB 1065.
01-25-2021
Mallory Oliver []
I am strongly opposed to this bill. The main reason is, I do NOT want my tax payer dollars to fund private and parochial schools. As a rural resident I have watched our rural schools in Iowa struggle to remain open. By diverting funds away from them, it will result in more closures. Rural children will be left with less choice, longer commutes and over all, less education. You must not pass this bill if you care anything at all about your rural constituents.
01-25-2021
Sarah Schock []
Student First Scholarships are vouchers. Unlike a true savings account, parents do not open the account and put in their own money. The proposal gives selected parents a debit card loaded with state taxpayer dollars to use however they wish. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public dollars are for public schools. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability.Public funds require public accountability and transparency. Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. DCG is required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.A slippery slope toward a costly and expansive voucher program. This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.As a taxpayer and as an employee of a public school district, public dollars should remain with public schools so we can provide services to any and every student that comes through our doors. Thank you for your consideration.
01-25-2021
Justin Young []
I am very against the proposal to allow public funds to be spent at private institutions. Fundamentally, I agree with the proposal to allow school choice, but it should not be going to explicitly religious or private institutions. These private schools are not held to the same standards as public schools, are not required to have public input into their decisions through the use of school boards, and are not accountable to taking and teaching all students like a public school should. If changes were made to the proposed law that private schools and religious institutions would have have to be held to the same accountability as public schools, then I would be more in favor of this proposal. I also find it interesting that for decades Iowa has been proud of its tradition of its success in education. However, if you look at the other states who have systems like the one that is being proposed, they all perform worse than Iowa in measures of academic success. Using a reporting tool such as U.S. News and World Report state education rankings, states such as Arizona, Mississippi, and North Carolina all perform worse than Iowa getting students ready for the work force and achieving high math and reading scores. Why would we want to adopt a system that is getting worse results than what we are currently already receiving? We should look to states and programs that are doing better than Iowa and see what we can learn from them, not try to replicate systems in place in two of the bottom 10 performing states in the country.
01-25-2021
Sam Kresse []
This bill does not take into account that as a state we do not fully fund our districts. If the state would count all private school, home school, and virtual students in their individual district count and then support those districts with those funds then a portion of those funds could be allocated to the private schools as support. A cap of 75% of funds given to the local school district could be reallocated to the private sector thus allowing the local public district more funds to create smaller class sizes and better services to the public school students.We already have tax funded options to support private education. This bill would impact the overall budget while not actually assisting Iowa students in need.
01-25-2021
David Schubert []
I am strongly opposed to this bill. I believe that it works to serve a select minority and thus is not in the interest of the majority of taxpayers. This bill will end up being a giveaway of taxpayer dollars with insufficient oversight and accountability. Why would you want to weaken our public education system by siphoning off funding to cater to a group of individuals who want to control the educational narrative? Public education is the foundation of our democracy and should be strengthened, not slowly starved and weakened.
01-25-2021
Melissa Johnson []
Public funds should be used for public schools. It is a violation of church and state to use public funds to fund education at institutions where the educators first priority is to be ministers of the church. Private schools are not held to the same standards regarding serving students with IEPs, socioeconomic, diverse backgrounds, limited English, etc. as public schools. Taking money away from public schools (or not providing necessary increases to public schools) sends the message that you don't value students with diverse backgrounds which are likely not utilizing the private schools of Iowa.Please be good stewards of tax payer dollars and focus on improving public schools.
01-25-2021
Steve Price []
This might possibly be the worst piece of education legislation to be brought before a sub committee. I could site several items within this piece of legislation that would hurt the educational system as whole in our state, but perhaps the most egregious part to this proposal is the discrimination afforded to nonpublic schools based on a student intellectual and physical disabilities, race, socioeconomic status, and demographicsability to transport a student to and from school. This not only removes public school funding needed to support these students but places funds into private schools who can refuse to fund programs that would support students with the above disabilities and/or socioeconomic disadvantages. This proposal has not been well thought out and doesn't even come close to addressing the true and real problems that exist with our educational system.
01-25-2021
Katy Fancher []
Good Morning,I am a teacher in the West Des Moines School District and my own children go to Dallas Center Grimes Community Schools. I am very proud of our public schools and what we have to offer ALL children. We support students that I teach, that speak a variety of languages, students with a wide variety of special needs and all those in between. And I feel we have the staffing and supports to do that. With the bill that may be proposed, SSB:1065, I am truly worried for the State of Iowa and our public education. More funding for private schools and less for public schools would negatively impact so many children in our state. The publics investment should be used to support public schools which are open to all students regardless of race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability. I agree that parents should have the choice to enroll their child in a private or religious school, but not with public taxpayer funds.Public schools are overseen by a publicly elected citizen governing board. Public schools are required to report academic results to the general public, have an annual public financial audit, and be transparent with all expenditures and decisionmaking. Private and religious schools are not held to that same standard. Taxpayers have a right to know how their funds are being used but could be in the dark about the use and impact of voucher funds.This voucher program may start small, but as we've seen in other states, once a program is established, it is easy to expand. This will pull more resources away from public schools.Public dollars should stay in public schools. This allows a state to be much more equitable to all students in the educational system. I have supported you and will continue to support you, but not on this issue. This bill would change Iowas educational system for the worse.Thank you for listening.Katy Fancher
01-25-2021
Steve Price []
This might possibly be the worst piece of education legislation to be brought before a sub committee. I could site several items within this piece of legislation that would hurt the educational system as whole in our state, but perhaps the most egregious part to this proposal is the discrimination afforded to nonpublic schools based on a student intellectual and physical disabilities, race, socioeconomic status, and demographicsability to transport a student to and from school. This not only removes public school funding needed to support these students but places funds into private schools who can refuse to fund programs that would support students with the above disabilities and/or socioeconomic disadvantages. This proposal has not been well thought out and doesn't even come close to addressing the true and real problems that exist with our educational system.
01-25-2021
Heather Hope []
Public money should be used for public goods. I have three children that all attend Iowa Public Schools. Allowing public money to be used for private schools will draw money and resources away from public schools. You hurt public school children when you allow the money to which should be going to public schools to go to private schools. Public schools are the equalizer in our society and should be absoultely and completely supported. Instead of taking money away from them try giving them more money! You are all public servants you should be trying strengthen Iowa's public schools NOT depleting them. The majority of students in Iowa attend public schools. You should take this into consideration when you create funding bills for Iowa Schools. Do what is best for Iowa's children. They deserve public schools that are well funded and not in competition for funding from private schools. If parents want their children in private schools for religious or other reasons, then they should have to pay for that privilege and not expect public money for that privilege. Another large issue is transparency. Public schools are held accountable for every penny that is given to them. They have to report exactly what was spent and what was purchased and from where was it purchased. The public has a right to know exactly how public funds are being spent. This will not be true if public monies are given to private schools. Equity is also an issue Private schools do not have to accept every student. They can deny entrance to students who have special needs, behavioral issues, poor test scores, bad grades, etc. They can also deny entrance based on race and ethnicity. This is not the system we should be setting up in Iowa Public Schools. Do what is right for my children and all of the children in Public Schools! Don't divert money that would have gone to them to Private Schools who do not educate all children AND fund the public schools better give them more money.
01-25-2021
Marvalee Vuichard []
Dear CommitteeI implore you to reject the concept of private school choices veing subsidized by tax dollars. It is not in the interest of any student to starve public schools of funds that can help them be exceptional. One needs only look at funding patterns to see how that systematic deprivation is the plan in place.Give EVERY STUDENT the funds they need to attebs exceptional public school districts.
01-25-2021
Erica Jaramillo []
Hello,As an Iowa constituent, I am writing to you to express my concern with the Governors 'Students First Scholarship' program, currently Senate Study Bill 1065. This legislation would divert public funds to nonpublic schools, who are not required to admit and serve students equitably. Public funds should also require accountability and transparency. Diverting public resources to nonpublic schools removes accountability and could contribute to waste and fraud of taxpayer dollars. This proposal would spend approximately $50 million to benefit just 10,000 students. Especially at a time when our public schools are facing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, available resources should go to support the more than 480,000 public school students in all 99 counties.Please Vote No on Senate Study Bill 1065. Thank you for your time!Erica Jaramilloejaramilaol.com3816 Lower Beaver RdDes Moines , Iowa 50310
01-25-2021
John Temple []
I oppose this legislation. Public funding should be for public schools only.
01-25-2021
Susanne Kennedy []
Please vote no on this bill, this is not what we need and will ruin public schools. We need to work on improving public education not taking funds away, this is terrible idea and does not keep people of iowa as a priority! This bill will funnel funds to private for profit firms bad idea. Plenty of evidence from other states that this i bad idea.
01-25-2021
Kelli Stoa []
I strongly oppose this bill. Public dollars are for public education and the rights of ALL students. I value strong neighborhood schools that are accessible for all and I want strong public schools for all children in Iowa. By utilizing public dollars to facilitate families choosing schools, it deepens the divide between those who have the means (of transportation, time, etc.) and those who do not. It leaves students in local publics schools with less funding. This bill is discriminatory and I strongly oppose it both as a mother and as a teacher.If you are on this committee and in favor of this bill, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Ibram X. Kendi's book "How to Be An AntiRacist" and to reflect on how policy making makes and breaks communities and perpetuates racism.
01-25-2021
Melissa Perrin []
This would essentially dismantle the public school system. Teachers do not teach for the money, they teach because they love kids and want to help them learn. Schools would be in limbo with their hiring process and the students would suffer.Please do not allow this outrageous legislation to pass.
01-25-2021
Sarah White []
The most expensive student to any school is the Special Ed student. Only public schools are lawfully required to care for our beloved SpEd students. Allowing for public money to redirect from public school to a private school will leave the most vulnerable underfunded. Theres no such thing as choice for the SpEd kid. School choice is an Ableism injustice.
01-25-2021
Rochelle Biegger []
I strongly oppose the legislation that is currently being discussed under bill SSB 1065. As a public school teacher, I am a strong proponent for public schools. I am also a parent, a taxpayer, and a person who attended a private school for 8 years during my youth. Public dollars should not be spent on private schools or home schools as they are separate from public education and not held to the same public scrutiny or transparency. While I believe education in our state needs systematic changes to provide equitable opportunities for all students, providing a savings account or voucher system for students will not address those inequities. Instead, more should be invested in our public schools and social services to support families, students and teachers. Students who want to attend private schools can apply for scholarships available from private donors who support those schools. Public funds should be used to support and build and improve efficacy in our public school system.I hope you listen to the voices of our educators in Iowa as well as parents who are advocating for their children's education. Investing in public schools can address their concerns if used properly. Explore other options before committing public funds to Bill SSB 1065.
01-25-2021
Nancy Amdor []
I am a retired public school teacher and AEA consultant. I am opposed to this bill, as it would siphon public funds from public schools. In rural communities, such as the one in which I live, there is a need for MORE, not less funding for our public schools. Especially in this pandemic year, shifting financial support away from public schools should not be a consideration. Private schools are already a choice I attended them myself for a time however, they are PRIVATE, and should be funded by the parents and the PRIVATE entities which founded them. Keep our public money in the public sector!
01-25-2021
Kristen Ruddle []
Im disappointed but not surprised. You continue to push legislation that will only serve to benefit well off families. Im so you disagree with what should be a nonpartisan education free from religious or financial influence. I do approve of that of education and you are clumsily and blatantly trying to kill off my childs education. Shame on you.
01-25-2021
Stacy Latimer []
I believe this is a step in the right direction for children and education. I have my children in a private school after having attended public school. My children have accelerated in our private school in ways they never would have in public school. I believe every family should have a choice of where their children go to school and the tax dollars that I pay to the state to fund public schools should go to the school of my choice when it comes to my children. Public school is not for everyone but neither is private school. At the end of the day, all I want is for my children to get the best education but the one that is right for them. I have also done my research into Common Core/Iowa Core and I do not believe that this is the route to go for public schools. I think they disregarded the opinions of child psychologists that said we are trying to make younger students learn ideas that their brains are not ready for. I believe that Common Core/Iowa Core concentrate too much on Math and Reading and not enough emphasis on Grammar and Spelling. I believe that we are doing a disservice to our younger students when we introduce too much technology in the classroom and not enough for lack of a better term "oldfashion learning". Technology is a tool, it should not be a solution for education. These are some of the reasons that we decided to move our children to a private school. The other reasons have to do with how we retain teachers in public schools who should otherwise be nonretained. In the private school, if a teacher is not performing well in their job, they can lose their job so I feel that sometimes their priorities are the students which seems to be lost in the public schools with teachers who cannot be held accountable for their behaviors, actions or lack of teaching skills.Thank you for the opportunity to send in comments on this subject.
01-25-2021
Jana H. []
I would like to express my opposition to SSB 1065. I am educator who has served in both the public and parochial schools and I feel this bill would be a detriment to public schools, as well as providing an unfair advantage to higher income students as well as rural students. I have a very practical scenario for you to consider. I grew up in a town of 1,000 people. There was one public school system. If one was unhappy and wanted to open enroll to a different district, they had to provide their own transportation to the next closest school district with the closest districts 20+ miles away. Most parents don't have that flexibility with their work schedule to transport their child to and from school from that distance. The closest private school was 30 minutes away, and that was specifically a parochial school. Even if online school was an option, how many parents can facilitate online learning for their child with the demands of their works schedules? So again, for many students in rural Iowa, and even many in urban areas, there is no feasible option for most students to attend a different school other than their home district. As I mentioned, I have taught in both public and parochial schools. The parochial schools have in which I have taught have always included students who attended these schools on tuitiion assistance through the tuition assistance organization, therefore public funds are not needed. Using public taxpayer money should be used for public entitites, and the public schools are already hurting for funds to meet the demands of what school districts are tasked with offering.Thank you for your consideration.
01-25-2021
Debra Dorzweiler []
I am a retired teacher and sent my two children to Iowa public schools. We used to have one of the top public school programs in the country, but have been underfunding the public schools for years. Public money should be for public schools. Private schools do not have to take all students or follow state and federal guidelines to ensure that education is being provided in a competent and equitable manner.Therefore I am opposed to SSB 1065.
01-25-2021
Tom Bakey [Valley High School]
This bill will weaken the great public schools of Iowa. We are already short of funding to fulfill our mission of a worldclass education for all Iowans. If you want to widen the gap between the halves and halves nots this would be the way to go! NOT!
01-25-2021
Judy Coldiron []
I am urging you to stop SSB1065. I am a retired teacher and this bill will harm Iowa public schools. There needs to be a considerable amount of study before imlementong anything to harm our public education system. Stop this bill.
01-25-2021
Rhonda Chittenden []
NO TO THIS BILL
01-25-2021
Lori Cupit Stott []
Please keep tax payer money going to public schools. Private schools do not have the same rules and regulations as private schools. So its like comparing apples and oranges. If I want a long private driveway to my house, I dont expect tax payers to give me a voucher for snow removal. Please strengthen public schools, not strip them of more resources!
01-25-2021
Tabitha Rasmussen []
I am a parent of two public school educated girls and a public school teacher. Iowa used to be a state that people moved to because of the excellent K12 schools. Now, because of the many cuts made through the state, that is not the case. Excellent veteran teachers are leaving the state and profession because of the lack of support. This bill would be one more way to harm public schools and the students of our state. Tax money should be going to public schools only!
01-25-2021
Kelly Henry []
NO public dollars for private schools! You are only funding wealthier Iowans for this supposed school choice. You are ruining our once world class educational system. Voters will remember you when their schools are suffering because you gave the money to private religious schools. The only reason some support this is to indoctrinate more children into the conservative Christian cult that is holding power over our government.
01-25-2021
LR Jones []
I am very against this bill. Iowas public schools have been underfunded for several years. Our teachers are poorly paid also. Low income students will be hurt by a voucher system which will assist only students who come from high income families who do not need assistance to attend a private school. Taking away funds from public schools will hurt many many rural & consolidated school districts who are already struggling to survive. What is the reason for adding charter schools? This entire scheme is another way to disenfranchise public education. As an Iowa taxpayer for more than 54 yrs I find this appalling.
01-25-2021
Rebekah Coenen []
I strongly oppose SSB 1065. As many other Iowans have stated, public money should go to public schools. The notion that this will help Iowa students and families is false. I also strongly oppose removing voluntary transfer bans. This entire bill is steeped in racist policy. "School choice" is another way to segregate schools. I urge committee members to read the HUNDREDS of comments opposing this bill.
01-25-2021
Stephanie Van Hemert []
Please do not consider passing this legislation!Our tax dollars should be used to support public schools. All students in Iowa have access to a free public school educationPrivate schools do not have the same accountability and transparency requirements as our public schoolsPublic schools provide a high quality education to ALL students, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic statusPrivate schools are not required to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Individuals with Disabilities Education act (IDEA)Private schools are not required to admit any and all studentsVouchers redistribute your tax dollars to private entitiesStudies show that students using vouchers to attend private schools perform no better than their public school counterpartsPublic schools cannot afford to have tax dollars taken away from their community to fund private schools
01-25-2021
Kris Stalcup-Koch []
Its basicNO Public school dollars should go to private schools!!!
01-25-2021
Bret Larsen []
The vast majority of Iowa students attend public schools. The way to make public schools better is to properly fund them, not divert funds to private schools.
01-25-2021
Megan Gilligan []
I oppose this bill and do not think it is in the best interest of our public schools.
01-25-2021
Vicky Anderson []
I strongly oppose SSB 1065. Public schools reach about 94% of Iowa children, and provide a quality education to all kids regardless of color, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. State taxes already provide over $65 billion in funding to homeschool and private school settings. As someone who recently retired from teaching elementary music in Iowa, I feel these vouchers represent a rural to urban shift of resources. The survival of rural schools depends on adequate state funding and there are many areas of the state where public schools are the only choice.
01-25-2021
Vicky Anderson []
On January 14, SF 80 was introduced in the Iowa Senate.The bill will require school districts to notify parents of trans students who wish to be identified by their correct (preferred) pronouns. Not all parents know that their child is transgender and wish to use different pronouns. Right now, schools are not required to tell parents if their child asks to use different pronouns or names. This would put many trans students in exceptional danger, outing them to unsupportive parents. I do NOT support SF 80, and ask that you do not support this bill, either. These young people are in enough mental anguish, that having this bill would not support these young adults.
01-25-2021
SallyAnna Brown [DCG]
Tax dollars should be used for public schools. School choice should be allowed. Maybe look at school choice rules. Why do some schools (DSM) not allow students to openenroll out? Parents can choose if those restrictions are lifted. Private schools offer scholarships.
01-25-2021
Cara Lausen []
PUBLIC DOLLARS ARE FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS & PUBLIC USE!The most devastating thing I can read in this study bill is that our lawmakers feel that instead of investing in struggling schools in our state, they're giving students and parents a way to abandon the public good. "if enrolled in the pupil's district of residence, would attend a public school identified for comprehensive support and improvement..."When schools are struggling, the reaction should be to dig in and not bail. This study bill will not change WHO is able to leave public schools for other options, it will simply allow them to "take their money with them," which would not be allowed with ANY other type of taxes. Schools are a public good; no different than any other public good. We do not get to take our taxes back for anything else we choose a private option for why are we treating schools differently?The totals pulled as a dollar amount available as a "scholarship" demonstrates a lack of understanding of school funding and a gross desire to pull every last penny out of public schools that must serve ALL STUDENTS. It goes without saying that nonpublic institutions are not held to this standard. PUBLIC MONEY IS FOR THE PUBLIC!!!
01-25-2021
Heather Knutson [Mother-educator]
We need to take care of Iowa public to public border limitation before we take care of private! This is my annual (3rd) to superintendents across the border.Greetings fellow educators!I hope this email finds all of you well, and stable in thes