The state legislature has returned to Des Moines to vote on bills that outline state spending, but the governor’s plan to provide state scholarships to private school students is not on the list.
“When it comes to the school choice bill that the governor proposed, it doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to put the votes together in the House this year to pass that,” House Speaker Pat Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford, told reporters this morning. “Obviously, we want to continue to work with the governor to get something achieved, that’s been a big priority of hers, moving towards next session and we’ll work on that in the off-season.”
At the end of March, Republicans in the Senate approved $5500 state scholarships to send 10,000 more K-12 students to private schools, but a group of House Republicans objected to the idea, saying it would divert state money from rural areas since 42 counties do not have a private school.
Legislators are in private meetings this morning. Grassley indicated some details are still being worked out in the $8.2 billion plan for the state budgeting year that begins July 1.
“Not everything is resolved or drafted at this point, but we’re getting good momentum and I think we’ll be able to wrap up fairly quickly this week,” Grassley said.
Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver is offering a bit of optimism about making final budget decisions in the next few days. “We’re hoping to have a very productive week and hopefully we can wrap up session,” Whitver said this morning.
Republicans hold firm majorities in the House and Senate. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has not yet commented on the decision to table her private school scholarship plan, but she has begun endorsing Republican candidates for the Iowa House who support the proposal. That includes a Republican who’s running against an assistant G-O-P leader in the Iowa House.