ESAs discussed at meeting
By JOANNE FOX, Globe editor
Educators from the state of Iowa gathered at the Sioux City Convention Center Feb. 7 to discuss new initiatives with school choice in Iowa.
The event was hosted by the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Sioux City and featured Dan Ryan, superintendent of schools for the diocese, and Tom Chapman of the Iowa Catholic Conference.
High on the school choice program list are Education Savings Accounts, which would serve as tuition assistance for parents who may discover their income is just above tuition-assistance guidelines.
According to Ryan, this new approach to addressing the needs of middle-income families could dramatically improve the access of K-12 school services.
“This model is based on the belief of school choice advocates that parents should be free to choose the best learning environments for their children,” he said. “It truly emphasizes that Catholic schools are an affordable, educational option of choice.”
Ryan pointed out the strength in this approach is providing parents with more money for a child’s education.
“This is a real boom for middle-class families who can use this to help with tuition,” he said. “It also gives them choices when it comes to where to send their children to school.”
Ryan, with administrators and educators, has been working with the Iowa Alliance for Choice in Education on Education Savings Accounts for some time.
“This program would allow parents to direct their education tax dollars to a private school or other approved educational services,” he explained. “We have been promoting this idea with our administrators and boards for some time.”
Here are some frequently asked questions concerning ESAs.
Q. What does an Education Savings Account so?
Q. What will an Education Savings Account cover?
Q. Why are they needed?
Q. Will taxpayers fund ESAs?
Q. How will the ESAs work?
Q. How will this impact public school education?
Q. What other states are pursuing this option?
Q. What happens next in Iowa?
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