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State Senate moves to give parents influence in education

Parents matter

Last week the Iowa Senate passed SF 2369 to empower parents and give them the ability to direct their children’s education. The “Parents’ Bill of Rights” guarantees parents have access to the curriculum, library materials, guest speakers, and other information related to the public education of their children. If the concerns parents have regarding their student’s education are not adequately addressed by the school, then parents need choice in education.

The second major part of the bill gives parents that choice in education. Up to 10,000 Iowa students would be able to utilize a scholarship to pay for private school education if their family income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level or they have an individualized education plan (IEP). This proposal gives low- and middle-income parents in Iowa the same school choice options wealthy parents have. With this bill, all Iowa families will have access to school choice, not just parents who can afford it.

The state portion of education funding is approximately $7,500 per student. In this bill, more than $5,000 of that amount is available in a scholarship for a student for private school education. The remainder is allocated to a special fund to support increased operational sharing functions. Operational sharing is a tool used by many rural districts in Iowa to share administrators and other leadership functions with nearby districts to meet the needs of the rural school at a reduced cost.

SF 2369 implements a pro-parent agenda and empowers parents to more effectively direct their children’s education. It empowers them with a clear and consistent path to involvement in their local schools.

Bottle Bill modernization

passes Iowa Senate

For years, legislation known as the “Bottle Bill” has been a recurring topic. Currently, Iowa law charges a deposit on many containers, like a can of pop at the grocery store, and then consumers can get their nickel back when the container is redeemed. The problem is redemption rates have declined over the years. Returning containers through machines at grocery stores brings dirty cans into the places where we buy our food, and redemption centers are closing because the economic model built 40 years ago is no longer sustainable. These problems have left many consumers with no simple way to get their nickel back.

Senate File 2378 allows for innovative methods of redemption and triples the funding to redemption centers. It gets the garbage out of our grocery stores and alleviates their overhead cost for redemption, providing an opportunity for grocers to cut prices for consumers during these days of record high inflation.

The solution the Senate moved forward last week increases the funding for redemption centers and also allows for mobile redemption systems. These systems would help users redeem their containers, especially in rural areas, using an online account. New systems like these would allow users to sign up for an account, place an identifying sticker on the bag of containers and then the value would be refunded to their account shortly after redeeming the containers.

The Bottle Bill has been popular over the years since it was introduced as an anti-litter solution. The economic model it established is no longer sustainable. This proposal is supported by both the retailers and distributors and is a good solution to maintain a program Iowans indicate they support.

National Review

National Review published an article last Monday, commending the Iowa Legislature for its bold tax reforms. They outlined the pro-growth changes, such as the move to a flat personal and business income tax rate, and the elimination of retirement income tax. It also acknowledged Iowa’s tax code is much more competitive than many states that border us, making us a Midwestern leader in tax reform. The article cited data showing positive migration patterns toward low-tax states nationwide, suggesting a bright future for Iowa’s population. Historic tax reform was the right thing to do for Iowans, and our actions are expected to attract new people and business to our state.

State Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge, represents Calhoun, Humboldt and Pocahontas counties, plus most of Webster County.

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