Legislators Hear Pros And Cons Of Governor’s School Choice Bill

Des Moines, Iowa — Parents, educators, school board members, and a couple of students testified at last (Tuesday) night’s public hearing on the governor’s plan to give parents state money to cover private school expenses.

Bill backer Jennifer Sulgrove told lawmakers she objected to the curriculum at Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf and is now teaching her daughter at home.

Bernie Scolaro, a retired educator who’s now a member of the Sioux City School Board, says the governor’s bill will chip away at public schools.

Patty Alexander of Indianola, a retired teacher, says public schools are now a monopoly that needs to be broken up.

Several parents and teachers told lawmakers private schools won’t accept all students as public schools are required to do. Kerry Lust, the mother of three children who attend Ankeny public schools, has a 15-year-old son who has been diagnosed with autism and other disabilities.

More than 50 people testified at last (Tuesday) night’s hearing and large crowds gathered around video screens in the Capitol that was broadcasting the hearing. More than 12 hundred people submitted written statements opposing the legislation, with about 430 writing they supported it.