Sen. Zack Wahls. (IA Legislature photo)

The Minority Leader in the Iowa Senate says Democrats will do what they can to push back on the governor’s goal of sending more state tax dollars to private schools.

Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls says the plan is a threat to rural schools, “who have already seen the effects of cuts to funding, the results of school consolidation and who I think are terrified that will accelerate under this voucher scheme and the challenge is that once you lose your school, you can lose your town.”

Last year, Governor Reynolds proposed giving the parents of 10,000 kids state scholarships to cover private school costs. During the campaign, Reynolds said her goal was to give “every parent” the choice of where their child attends school.

“What we can see clearly with the governor changing her position publicly like this is that what Democrats have been warning from the beginning is obviously potentially poised to come to pass,” Wahls said during an interview with Radio Iowa.

Wahls suggests a plan to let tens of thousands of Iowa parents get state money after enrolling their child in a private school would divert hundreds of millions of dollars from public schools.

“That should be a concern to every Iowa parent, child, family, community. It doesn’t matter if you’re Democrat, Republican, independent, Libertarian — your political affiliation has nothing to do with it,” Wahls says. “I mean, you’re talking about an existential threat to public education.”

The governor’s previous school choice plans have failed to pass the Republican-led House, but some GOP opponents were defeated in primaries and a number of new Republican members were elected to the House in November. The 2023 Iowa legislature starts in a month — on Monday, January 9.