Iowa has two private school choice programs (tax-credit scholarships and individual tax credits). The state also has a charter school law. Iowa allows for limited public virtual schooling. Open enrollment exists, only for interdistrict public school choice.
Laws and Regulations Governing Private Schools
Both tax credit and voucher programs are school choice options for Iowa. Iowa’s Constitution contains a Compelled Support Clause, which the Iowa Supreme Court has interpreted as prohibiting direct payment of public funds to religious schools.
In general, however, the court has noted that the Compelled Support Clause seeks to achieve the same end as the federal Establishment Clause and should be interpreted in line with federal Establishment Clause precedent. Therefore, a religiously neutral voucher program of true private choice that gives money directly to parents is likely to be upheld in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris.
–Quote from the Institute for Justice (April 2007)
School Choice Programs
Enacted 2006 • Launched 2006
Iowa provides a credit on individual income taxes for donations to School Tuition Organizations (STOs),
nonprofits that provide private school scholarships. The credit is worth 65 percent of the donation’s
value, which also is limited by a statewide...
Enacted 1987 • Launched 1987
Iowa provides parents of students in any private or public school a tax credit covering educational
expenses, including tuition, books, and lab or activity fees. The credit is worth a maximum of $250.
The “Iowa K-12 & School Choice Survey” project, commissioned by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and conducted by Braun Research, Inc. (BRI), measures Iowa registered voters’ familiarity and views on a range of K-12...