Iowa Gov. Reynolds seeks state funding for private schools

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(ABC 6 News) – Governor Kim Reynolds delivered her annual Condition of the State Address on Tuesday.

Reynolds’ speech is the ceremonial start of Iowa’s legislative session, and it marks the sixth time she’s delivered the Condition of the State to the General Assembly since taking office.

Under a plan laid out by Reynolds proposed Tuesday, Iowa students would have the option of using more than $7,500 in state money annually to pay for private school.

Reynolds, a Republican, has tried unsuccessfully twice before to enact a less expansive program of taxpayer-funded scholarships for private school.

Democrats argue Reynolds is shifting taxpayer money to private companies that are not held accountable like state institutions are.

Progress Iowa responded to the address in a statement:

“She spent the first half of her speech settling old scores and playing petty politics….Then she listed off one dangerous proposal after another.”

Democrats say their other concern that thousands of dollars would go to wealthy families that can already afford a private education. But Reynolds claimed she’d initially focus the money on lower-income students for three years, and then open up the program to everyone, according to her speech Tuesday.

Reynolds’ more far-reaching program outlined Tuesday could finally be approved thanks to larger Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. She outlined the scholarship proposal during a speech in which she also called for a new effort to improve reading in poor-performing schools, supported grants to encourage fathers to be involved in their children’s lives and proposed programs to benefit rural health care.

Two other issues Reynolds tackled in her speech are the opioid crisis — announcing a new state public awareness campaign about fentanyl.

And shrinking the state government — saying she wants to reduce 37 cabinet positions to just 16.

You can watch Governor Kim Reynolds full Condition of the State Address below.

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