Iowa Senate works to improve public education
By Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink
In debate last week, the Senate passed several education bills. One of these bills was House File 847, referred to as the Education Omnibus bill.
It does a number of things related to education in Iowa and gives schools more flexibility when it comes to funding. It gives parents more choice and say in their children’s education, and it gives more accountability measures for school boards.
It also increases the annual amount of classroom expenditures Iowa elementary and secondary school teachers may deduct from gross income for income tax purposes. It increases it from $250 to $500. Additionally, it expands the Tuition and Textbook Tax credit by doubling the allowed expense amount to $2,000 per qualified student and also extending the credit to families utilizing private instruction.
Another bill the Senate passed last week is House File 802, prohibiting training of certain concepts in higher education institutions, K-12 schools and state and local government.
These concepts include race and sex stereotyping, race and sex scapegoating and other things.
The purpose of this bill is to ensure individual worth and respect is dependent on the character of a person rather than their skin color or gender.
Another important education bill the Senate passed is House File 813, establishing a new charter school program in Iowa.
We have heard a lot of feedback on this issue, but like many issues this year there is misinformation about what this bill does and what charter schools can do. Charter schools are tuition-free public schools, open to all students and provide greater flexibility to serve a diverse and changing student population. They promote innovation within the classroom and flexibility with resource allocation. They also empower teachers to provide innovative, high-quality instruction by giving them the autonomy to design a classroom that fits the needs of their students.
The best way to ensure our communities have longterm growth opportunities is for the children growing up in Iowa to have access to great public educational opportunities that suit their needs and help them succeed.
State Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge, represents Senate District 5.