Iowa Senate Democrats respond to passage of private school voucher bill

Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls, Senate Education Committee Ranking Member Herman Quirmbach, and Sen. Molly Donahue, a public school educator, released the following statements regarding Senate passage of House File 68, the private school voucher bill on Monday night:

“Private school vouchers will hurt local schools, weaken rural communities, and reduce opportunity for the vast majority of Iowa kids,” Iowa state Sen. Molly Donahue, D-Cedar Rapids, said. “The bill pushed through the Legislature by statehouse Republicans on Monday is a betrayal of Iowa’s commitment to high-quality public education serving every kid and every parent in our state.”

Donahue is a 32-year veteran teacher in the Cedar Rapids Community School District and serves on the Senate Education Committee.

“Iowa voters did not give Gov. Reynolds and statehouse Republicans a mandate to defund public education and spend taxpayer dollars on private schools with no accountability, but that’s exactly what they’ve done by passing this voucher scheme,” Iowa state Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, said. “This bill is a grave mistake for Iowa – fundamentally, financially, and morally. The only way to pay for this program is to continue to bleed our public schools.”

Quirmbach is the ranking member on the Senate Education Committee.

“The private school voucher scam passed tonight by Republican politicians in Des Moines is a giveaway to out-of-state interest groups and wealthy families who have already chosen private education,” Iowa Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls, D-Coralville, said. “The way Republican politicians rammed this bill through the legislature once again reveals their misplaced priorities and commitment to serving big donors and special interests – not the people of Iowa.”

“This bill is wrong for students, wrong for families, and wrong for a state that built its reputation on high-quality public education,” Wahls said.

Senate Democrats voted unanimously against House File 68.