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To the editor:
I am writing this as a concerned grandmother, great grandmother, and lifelong resident of Ringgold County.
All three of my children, all eight of my grandchildren have attended, and hopefully most or all my great grandchildren will attend Mount Ayr Community Schools.
The schools in this county are very good but are being challenged like they have never been challenged before.
The Iowa legislature is proposing to funnel away $53,490,000.00 dollars from public schools in Iowa and give it, in the form of vouchers, to parents whose children attend or want to attend private schools.
The Iowa legislature already gives over $75 million per year for private school funding. If this bill passes this year, approximately $130,490,000.00 plus will go toward private schools and away from public schools!
These vouchers will go to private schools who do not have to accept special education students, behavior challenged students and do not have to answer to the Department of Education.
As of this year, and probably in years to come, there is no private school close enough for many students in Ringgold County to attend without long travel time to and from school.
The legislature says the losses in revenue to rural schools and communities will be made up by the small kickbacks this bill offers to rural districts, but it will NOT make up for all the loss of revenue to public schools!
Mount Ayr Community School is very lucky that we have had some very generous patrons that have given money to the school for major improvements that otherwise would not have been possible without possibly adding to our property taxes.
Because the legislature in the past 10 years has failed to add even a cost-of-living increase to the schools, our schools are falling behind.
Our state’s most precious commodity (our kids) is being left out as tax breaks are continually being given to millionaires, billionaires, and large corporations!
There is a breaking point and unless more of you, the residents of Ringgold County, become involved and informed about what is really happening in the state legislature, it will sadly be too late!