Iowa Senate panel OKs bill to fund private schools

Iowa Capitol (WQAD photo)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa Senate subcommittee has advanced a measure that would use public education money for private schools and home schooling.

The Des Moines Register reports the committee voted 2-1 for the measure Wednesday, with the two Republicans in support and Democratic member opposed.

Sen. Jerry Behn, a Boone Republican who sponsored the bill, says the measure would provide parents opportunities for more involvement in their children’s education. He also says it would encourage competition among schools and lead to improvement.

West Des Moines Democratic Sen. Claire Celsi says schools aren’t businesses and don’t compete with one another.

The bill would provide students in grades K-12 “education savings grants” to pay for a nonpublic school or “competent private instruction,” more commonly known as home schooling. The grant would equal the average per-student amount the state pays each year for students at public schools.

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