Iowa House Passes Charter School Bill

Mar 25, 2021

The Iowa Capitol Golden Dome

In an after-midnight vote, the Iowa House passed a bill to provide public funding for charter schools run by groups unaffiliated with local school districts. Republicans suspended House rules to allow a vote after midnight, without a public hearing requested by Democrats, and placed a “time certain” limit on debate.

Under the bill the State Board of Education would have authority to approve charter school applications from local school boards and from so-called ‘founding groups’ that could operate a school independent from the local school board.

Republican supporters said expanding the charter system would give parents more options to find a school that works best for their child and would create more competition for traditional schools. Democrats who opposed the bill said it would siphon resources away from public schools.  

The Nebraska Legislature gave first-round approval yesterday to a proposal that change how the state spends Nebraska Lottery proceeds. Those proceeds are used to support needs-based college scholarships, dual-credit enrollment for high school students and mental health training for teachers.

Lawmakers lauded several parts of the bill, particularly provisions expanding the Nebraska Opportunity Grant, the Community College Gap Assistance Program and a new Door to College Scholarship for individuals at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers.

Woodbury County’s health department will hold a few large-scale vaccination clinics at the new Siouxland Expo Center next month. 

The $15 million venue opened September in Sioux City. The expo center hosts sports tournaments and community events. Officials hope it’ll boost tourism.