Gov. Kim Reynolds signs monumental charter school bill in Iowa

The public charter school movement received a major win last week when Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill that will expand funding and access to charters in Iowa. 

Reynolds, who was cheered on by Horizon School Academy Des Moines students as she put pen to paper, also announced a new program that will grow the footprint of charters within the state. 

“Public charter schools provide yet another school choice for parents and guardians looking for the education that’s best suited for their children’s abilities and needs,” Reynolds said in a statement. “Charter schools are tuition-free, independently operated public schools that have the freedom to design their curriculum and classrooms to meet specific educational objectives. 

“By signing this bill and launching a new infrastructure grant program for start-up and expansion costs, we take a bold step in expanding the charter school opportunities to parents and students across our state."

The bill is important for the growth of charters on multiple levels. Under the new legislation, it will be easier for charter schools to buy underutilized property from school districts that have historically restricted charter schools from purchasing their facilities. The bill will also require additional categorical funding to follow a student to a public school, charter or district, wherever they attend. 

The new program, which will be available from the Iowa Department of Education, will provide $7 million in funding for infrastructure costs. New charter schools can now be given up to $500,000 in start up money while existing charters are eligible to receive $200,000. 

Horizon Science Academy Des Moines is a part of the award-winning Concept Schools network. Concept is a non-profit charter management organization that provides academic, financial, and operational services as part of its comprehensive model. 

“We applaud Governor Reynolds for prioritizing what is best for the children of Iowa,” said Dr. Chris Murphy, Concept’s Chief Growth Officer. “As charter schools are public schools, governed by local community members, it is right that they receive an equitable share of state educational funding.”

Over the last 25 years, Concept Schools has continued to lead the public charter school movement in the Midwest. Our mission is furthered by people like you who understand the importance of shaping the current educational landscape. Learn more about how you can contribute to our cause today.