Schools in Iowa are preparing to introduce the School Choice plan this fall

School leaders have many questions about how the plan will go ahead in the fall, when Gov. Reynolds and private schools campaign for victory.

CLINTON, Iowa – Life often presents us with many different choices.

It’s been a little over 24 hours since Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law the state’s “School Choices Plan.” Although the governor and private schools are claiming this as a victory, principals are still waiting to determine how this will affect each school, financially or otherwise.

Under the new plan, Iowa families will be able to choose which private schools they want to attend and use state funds to cover certain costs.

“Tax money should go to children. End of discussion,” said Joe Brown, principal of the Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton.

Brown has long been a supporter of the new law but said talks are already underway about what happens next.

“My expectation is that enrollment will likely increase,” Brown said.

That increase, he believes, will come directly from the state education plan.

“Prince of Peace will not be the best school choice for some, just like the Clinton schools will not be the best choice for some,” Brown said.

Clinton Community School District Superintendent Gary DeLacy is most concerned about the financial impact on his district three years from now, but believes Clinton will be financially stable for the upcoming school year.

“I think there’s going to be a point where we’re going to be revenue neutral, and how do you continue to attract and retain employees when they get to a point where we can’t generate any additional revenue?” DeLacy asked.

Under the new law, private school families would receive $7,598 per student per year to help meet the costs associated with attending private school. That amount is the same as what the Clinton Community School District receives from the state per student, DeLacy said.

“For one system we will choose who we serve and the other will still accept everyone and basically the funding per student is the same,” DeLacy added.

A new law aimed at choice may compel others to make their own.

“All I’m asking is a level playing field between public and private schools,” DeLacy said.

Before the law comes into force in July, there will still be time to determine how the law will actually be implemented. This includes establishing rules and regulations for legislation.

That process could take six to nine months, but could be shorter because Gov. Reynolds has previously proposed this type of legislation.

DeLacy said he will support additional private school legislation to provide funding for students in special education programs. He believes this would increase fairness between public and private schools.

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