Iowa Senate Expands School Choice

This week, on an overwhelming bi-partisan 42-6 vote, the Iowa Senate passed an amended version of HF 847 which will increase educational options in the state by expanding open enrollment, doubling the parental tuition tax credit, and increasing the school tuition organization tax credit program. The bill, which contains the largest ever increase in the scholarship program, will now return to the Iowa House for final approval.

Statement from John Schilling, President of the American Federation of Children:

“We are pleased that during this time, Iowa legislators are continuing to focus on giving more educational opportunities to lower-income families. On behalf of the families of Iowa, we would especially like to thank Senators Amy Sinclair, Dan Dawson, Jake Chapman, and Jack Whitver for their tireless work and dedication to ensure all children have access to a high-quality education.”

Details:

  • House File 847 as amended by the Senate this week will increase the cap on the scholarship program from $15 million to $20 million on January 1, 2022 – the largest ever increase in the scholarship program’s history
  • The tax credit for donations will be increased from 65% to 75%
  • HF 847 includes an expansion of the state’s open enrollment program and a doubling of the parental tuition tax credit from $250 to $500 per student. It also makes homeschool families eligible for the tax credit
  • The Senate has also forwarded HF 813 to the Governor’s desk which would allow groups wanting to start charter schools to apply for authorization with the state Department of Education rather than their local school district.