Ethics complaint regarding private school vouchers dismissed by Iowa lawmakers

An ethics committee in the Republican-led Iowa House has dismissed a complaint filed by a group of community activists against a state lawmaker for endorsing the state’s Education Savings Accounts.

Rep. Dean Fisher, a Republican from Montour, is not only a proponent of legislation to create a program that allows parents to use public funds for their child’s private education, but he also has plans of opening a private school in his own district.

According to Tim Glaza, the special projects director for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Fisher’s vote was a clear conflict of interest.

According to Glaza, the school aims to enroll around 120 students, which would amount to over $900,000 of public funds annually.

Fisher dismissed the ethics complaint, claiming it was driven by political motives. He emphasized that his support for the creation of the program aligned with his campaign promise, but he did not mention anything about his plans for a private school in his response.

Supporters of Education Savings Accounts argue that they possess a greater understanding of their children’s educational needs compared to public schools. They believe that they should have the freedom to utilize their tax dollars to fund private school education. However, recent polls indicate that 62% of Iowans are against these programs due to concerns about diverting funds from the public school system.

Lawmakers should require Fisher to abstain from voting on future voucher bills, according to Glaza’s call.

Glaza laid out the plans of expanding the voucher program. The intention is to increase the amount and broaden its scope. In addition to that, they aim to include homeschooling and expand the range of expenses that the vouchers can cover.

Glaza stated that implementing any modifications would result in a more significant impact on public schools. Currently, thirteen states have already implemented various versions of education savings accounts or private school vouchers, while others are contemplating the possibility of introducing similar measures.

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