Lawmakers eliminate open enrollment deadline

by Katie Obradovich & Kate Kealey

Iowa Capital Dispatch

Iowa lawmakers ended the 2022 legislative session early Wednesday, May 25, with action on some familiar topics: school choice and election law.

The Iowa Senate adjourned for the year at 12:11 a.m. and the House followed at 12:17 a.m. Before they went home, Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate voted to eliminate a deadline for open enrollment, over the objections of Democrats who said the move would throw school district budgets into chaos.

Earlier in the week, House Republican leaders had pulled the plug on the governor’s priority bill that would have provided state aid to help families pay for private school tuition and expenses.

“And now, the 2022 legislative session is ending after a month of overtime with Governor Kim Reynolds campaigning against incumbent members of her own party in the House because she wants to use our public, taxpayer dollars to pay for private school vouchers,” Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls, D-Coralville, said.

Instead, Republicans in both chambers pushed through a provision to repeal the school open enrollment deadline of March 1. If the bill is signed into law, students and parents can choose to open enroll to any district in the state. Student-athletes would still be required to sit out of a sport if they transfer districts. The measure would be effective immediately following the governor’s signature.

House Minority Leader Rep. Jennifer Konfrst said the open-enrollment deadline is in place so schools can plan their budget.

“The fact that they are throwing out that deadline, allowing people to transfer any time for any reason seems to be 

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