Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau, September 21, 2023
A national school choice advocacy group launched a TV and digital ad campaign this week in Iowa ahead of the second Republican presidential primary debate Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
The ad features Reagan advocating for school choice four decades ago and closes with a plea for GOP presidential candidates to support federal school choice legislation.
The bill would add an additional $5,000 to the roughly $7,600 offered by Iowa’s private school education savings accounts, according to the Invest in Education Coalition — providing middle- and low-income families in Iowa more resources to send their child to private school or use for other services such as tutoring.
The legislation is endorsed by the Iowa Christian conservative group The Family Leader and Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education. All four of Iowa’s Republican U.S. House Members are co-sponsors of the bill (Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Ashley Hinson, Randy Feenstra and Zach Nunn).
The Invest in Education Coalition is asking the GOP presidential candidates to make “education freedom” for K-12 parents and students a governing priority should they become president.
The legislation creates a federal tax credit for donations to tax-exempt organizations that provide scholarships to K-12 students to attend private school. To qualify, a family’s household must be 300 percent or less of the area median gross income and have a student eligible to enroll in a public elementary or secondary school.
Scholarships are funded with private donations, not federal money, and individual and business donors receive a tax credit on their federal income tax liability. Students could use scholarships for tuition, tutoring, special needs services or education technology.
“Every parent should have the opportunity to choose a school that meets their children’s needs and sets them up for success whether it’s public, private, or charter,” Anthony de Nicola, chairman of the Invest in Education Coalition, said in a statement.
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