Should Public Money Be Used For Private Schooling?

         Recently, our Governor, Kim Reynolds, signed a new bill called the "Students First Act" that will take effect in the upcoming 2023-2024 school year. The new bill will allow any student in Iowa to use public money to pay for private school tuition. Families who choose to send their children to a private institution will receive $7,598 per child to help pay for tuition. This is the same amount that public schools receive for each student enrolled in their district. Iowa is only the third state in the nation to pass this initiative. The justification for the bill was to give parents and students a choice for their education and allow families to pick an option that best suits their child's needs. We need to remember there has always been a choice for families and students that includes: public school, open enrollment, homeschooling, and private. The difference is the State of Iowa wasn't paying for a student's tuition who chose to go to a private school. The bill doesn't create any new schooling options it just makes the private option more affordable. Regardless of income, families choosing to enroll students next year in a private school for the first time will receive the full $ 7,598 amount. Children who currently attend a private school will have their funding phased in over a three-year period. Families wanting this option will have funding placed in an ESA (educational savings account).

       The Students First Act could have a large negative financial impact on public schools as more families may choose to send their children to private institutions, thus eliminating vital funding from school districts.  School districts rely on state funds to provide a quality education for all students. A reduction in state funding not only puts the district at risk but could also raise property taxes in communities to help offset the loss. Iowa taxpayers already pay state taxes to help fund public schools. Why would they want to pay more just to make up for the losses caused by the new bill? Did you know that private schools don't have to accept all students, they can pick and choose who is admitted. Are private schools better than public schools? Are they able to accommodate special needs students? Many questions need to be asked and answered before families start removing their children from public schools.


Is this the best use of public funds?

Should all families choosing the private school option receive the same amount or should it be based on income?



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  • Great topic choice +5. Well done overall Macy! Be sure to reply back on three different days next time.

  • I have a few different thoughts on this. My first concern was public money going toward private organizations. I fully understand the concern of people not wanting their tax money going to private institutions they do not support. However, that could be applied to any financial aid that is publically funded. The aid is given to the individual, who will decide how to spend it. I can see both sides of that. I think the effects on public schools will be very straining.

  • I think that the money shouldn't go to providing money to parents putting their kids into private school. If they truly think their kid is getting "better" schooling then they shouldn't be provided the money to have their kid go there. That's like the same thing as free public school if they don't have to pay.

  • I don't think that funds from public schools should have to go to private schools, if a parent wants to send their kid to a private school, they should have to cover the cost on their own. I think that public schools can benefit from using their own money on themselves.

  • I think that these public funds should be used elsewhere. If the parents choose to put their child in a private school, then it is their responsibility to provide the money for that on their own. I do not completly understand how all of this works, but I think the taxpayers in Iowa should not have to help pay to put other peoples kids in private schools when it already pays for public schools.

    • I agree with you, I think the use of these public funds should go elsewhere. If a parent wants to send their child to a school that isn't public, then they should have to provide that money on their own instead of relying on the government. 

  • I think public funds should only go to public schools as some children would not even be accepted into a private school or there may not be enough space. If parents decide they would like for their kid to attend a private school instead of a public school then they should have to pay for that on their own.   

    • I agree with you, public funds should only go to public schools. If a parent wants to send their kid to a different school that isn't public, then they should be required to come up with that money on their own. 

  • I believe that the public money should be used for public education and thats it. If parents are paying for kids to go to a private school, they should have to pay it in there own money, because there are good schools that are public. Also the private school cost could increse. 

    • I agree with you, I think that public money should only be used for public education and thats it. If parents want their kids to go to a school somewhere different than a public school, then they should have to cover those costs on their own. 

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