Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

April 5, 2018 GOP revives private school vouchers plan
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

Republican lawmakers have revived their private school voucher plan again last week. This latest voucher scheme would shift over $250 million in taxpayer dollars from public schools to private schools. According to a recent Iowa Poll, 65 percent of Iowans do not want public funds to go to private education. After eight years of historically low state funding for public schools, current state funding for public schools is now well below the national average.

Even though 92 percent of Iowa students attend public schools, the state already provides $52 million for students who attend non-public schools. I agree with most Iowans and don’t believe we should start a new voucher program.

With the state budget in the red and years of anemic state investment for public schools catching up with us, we shouldn’t start a new voucher program that shifts money away from public schools.

The out-right assault on public education from the GOP doesn’t stop at the K-12 level, Gov. Reynolds signed a bill this week to cut millions from community colleges and state universities for this fiscal year. Hawkeye Community College is one of the first to announce it has raised tuition and fees on students due to these cuts. This is just the first in a likely series of tuition increases for students across Iowa. We need to focus our efforts on investing in public schools again.

Budget cuts signed into law; questions about budget remain

As Gov. Reynolds signed $35 million of budget cuts into law this week, it is looking more and more likely that lawmakers will be working overtime to close out the 2018 legislative session.

Since the budget has been in deficit for two years in a row, one of the major hold ups is Republican leaders at the Statehouse trying to balance next year’s state budget while paying back the $144 million in debt they had to borrow last year.

The impact of the latest round of budget cuts will be felt hardest by Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens as well as students at community colleges and state universities. Lawmakers knew the cuts would be needed since last fall, but waited until the final months of the state’s fiscal year to approve them. If the same timeline is used for crafting the state’s budget for the upcoming year is any indication, Iowans who depend on vital services could be left in limbo in the coming months.

Hardworking Iowans who craft a budget every month for their family know and expect lawmakers to use the same principles that they do every month. So far Republican lawmakers have failed to live up to the expectations of Iowans, by running the state’s budget on a credit card and putting corporate tax cuts before everyday Iowans.

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