DES MOINES, Iowa – Five Iowa House Republicans received money from the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) PAC in January, right before the start of the 2022 legislative session, according to their campaign finance disclosure statements.
The Iowa House of Representatives and Iowa Senate remain deadlocked over SF 2369, a bill that would create an education savings account program capped at 10,000 students. The ESAs are called Student First Scholarships and are one of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ top priorities.
The “Student First Scholarships” would be implemented during the 2022-2023 school year. Scholarships would be worth 70 percent of the state’s per-pupil spending, currently $5,359, for qualified education expenses defined in the bill, such as non-public school tuition, textbooks, curriculum, tutoring, non-public online education, and vocational education.
A student must be enrolled in a public school for the 2021-22 school year and have a household income that does not exceed 400 percent of the federal poverty level or have an individualized educational plan to be eligible. The scholarships in the first year will be capped at 10,000.
The remaining 30 percent will be reallocated to school districts that participate in operational sharing among districts.
The Iowa Senate passed the bill in March. However, the Iowa House has not voted on the bill and is the primary reason the legislature is still in session into mid-May.
The Iowa State Education Association has been firmly against school choice measures and is registered opposed to SF 2369. The Iowa Torch checked the campaign financial disclosure statements of every Iowa House Republican and found five who received money from the ISEA PAC.
The Iowa House Republican receiving the largest donation from ISEA PAC was the Iowa House Education Committee Chair, State Rep. Dustin Hite, R-New Sharon, who received $2500 on January 9, 2022.
Hite is being challenged in the new Iowa House District 88 in the June 7 Republican Primary by Helena Hayes of New Sharon, endorsed by The FAMiLY Leader on Thursday.
State Rep. Brent Siegrist, R-Council Bluffs, received $1000 from ISEA PAC on January 9, 2022. He is not running for re-election.
State Rep. Jane Bloomingdale, R-Northwood, received $500 from ISEA PAC on January 6, 2022. Bloomingdale has a primary challenger in the new Iowa House District 60. Deb Hild of Clear Lake is attempting to unseat her for the Republican nomination.