Iowa Senate Passes Plan to Use Public Money for Private Schools

DES MOINES, Iowa - An education priority of Governor Kim Reynolds is one step closer to becoming law.

The Iowa Senate has passed a bill to allow the use of public money for private schools.

The Republican backed bill was narrowly approved with several party members joining all Democrats in opposition.

The House is now looking at a similar bill, which is part of Governor Reynolds plan for what she calls school choice.

The measure, which allows the use of public tax-payer money to support students who want to attend private schools, passed by a 26-21 margin. Republican hold a 32-18 majority in the Senate.

The bill would apply to students in underperforming schools that receive federal money because of a failure to reach achievement benchmarks.

About 10,000 students at 34 Iowa schools would qualify for the program which would create education saving accounts to be used for private school education.

The bill would also create a charter school program and let students transfer out of districts that currently don't allow transfers.

Democrats in the legislature oppose the legislation, saying public money should stay in public schools. Republicans say the measure allows students to seek a better option to failing public schools.

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