Iowa Open Enrollment Deadline Eliminated With New Law Signed By Governor | Local News

DES MOINES — Students can apply to enroll in another public school district at any time of the year under a new law approved Tuesday by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.

It was one of three bills Reynolds signed into law on Tuesday, completing his work on all of the laws passed this year by state lawmakers.

Eliminating the previous March 1 deadline for an open application for registration was one of the last pieces of legislation approved during the session, after it became clear that majority Republicans did not have enough vote to pass Reynolds’ so-called school choice bill, which included a program that would have diverted state funding for public schools to tuition assistance for private schools.

The March 1 deadline for open enrollment applications has been put in place so that school districts can plan for the number of students they will have in the following school year. And previous state law provided deadline exemptions for students facing issues such as bullying.

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Jack Whitver, Ankeny’s Senate Republican Majority Leader, recently told Iowa PBS’s “Iowa Press” that Republicans in the State House believe removing the deadline is an important aspect of their school choice program.

Whitver cited recent policies codified by the Linn-Mar School District to protect transgender students from discrimination. Some parents upset over the policies, which had been in place in practice in the district for years, requested and were granted a private meeting with Reynolds and Congresswoman Ashley Hinson, both Republicans.

“Really anything parents find they dislike about this school (could be reason for an open application), Whitver said on “Iowa Press.” “Obviously one of the most high profile is what was happening in Marion when they rolled out a transgender policy shortly after the March 1 deadline. Parents say, ‘What’s our alternative?’ And we don’t think there is one. So we wanted to open it. But that’s just one (reason). It could be anything.

School officials and Democrats who opposed the proposal warned that it would be more difficult for districts to plan for the following school year.

The measure was included in the Iowa Legislature Status Bill, which is a catch-all budget and policy bill that is often one of the last to be approved during a legislative session.

This year’s filing bill, House File 2589, also contained a new ban on private funding of local election operations.

The provision was created in response to announced $419 million in grants funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that were designed to help election officials organize the 2020 election during the COVID-19 pandemic. Scott County ($286,870) and Black Hawk County ($267,500) received grants in 2020, according to court documents produced after a group sued the counties — unsuccessfully — over the grants.

“I don’t believe there should be conservative, wealthy people doing this. And I don’t believe there should be liberal, wealthy people doing this,” said Iowa Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton and chairman of the state government committee. Iowa House, in session. “I’m not comfortable, and I’ve yet to meet anyone who can give me a reasonable counter-debate on why private dollars with, in my view, special political interests in mind should be able to contribute directly to electoral officials in the conduct of their affairs.”

Small, artisanal butchers who produce custom meats will receive state assistance in legislation enacted by Reynolds.

The new law is the result of recommendations made by a state task force that was convened last year to study ways the state could help small butchers.

Small butchers in Iowa said they are facing increased consumer demand for artisanal and custom meats — often from farm-to-table producers — and are plagued by supply chain issues. supply caused by the disruption of commercial meat processing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the new law, the state will create a one-year artisanal butcher certificate program that community colleges will offer. The state Department of Education is responsible for compiling resources for meat processing plants that include information about an existing butchery grant program, apprenticeships and internships, and training and development. workers.

The legislation, House File 2470, was unanimously approved by state lawmakers.

“By signing (the bill), we are building on years of effort to support our small meat processors in Iowa. This bill is a victory for Iowa cattle ranchers, our agriculture industry, and our entire state,” Reynolds said in a statement to the office. “It strengthens the partnership between our community colleges and the Departments of Education, Workforce Development, and Agriculture to provide much-needed support to local meat locker and butcher programs in Iowa. .”

Reynolds also signed into law Tuesday House File 2581, which contains myriad programs under the state Department of Agriculture.

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