The bill that state lawmakers passed out of committee last week would provide education savings accounts (ESAs) of about $7,600 for students to use toward private-school tuition, tutoring, and more. That’s a notable increase from the ESAs worth roughly $5,000 in the proposal that died last year. The 2022 bill also set income caps on those who can apply. This year’s legislation would set some caps for the first two years but remove them in 2025-26, making the program available to anyone.
Gov. Reynolds’ willingness to spend political capital positioned the Legislature much better to pass the bill this time around. House Speaker Pat Grassley suggested to reporters Thursday that Republicans have an “expectation” that the bill will pass.
Democrats are responding with their usual complaints about taxpayer dollars going to private schools. At issue last year was purported concern for rural districts. Public schools are sometimes the only option in rural areas and school choice will ruin them, the argument goes.