As a supporter of Christian education and school choice, we know you believe that all parents, regardless of address or income, deserve education choices that reflect academic goals and faith. The Iowa Association of Christian Schools supports an increase in the amount of the School Tuition Organization (STO) tax credits available to donors who make scholarships to lower and middle income families possible.
Last year, changes were made to ensure scholarships are available to nonpublic school families whose income is up to four times the federal poverty level. This was up from three times the federal poverty level previously. These scholarships enable parents to choose the school that best fits their child’s learning needs but the change in demographics eligible makes our call to increase the number of tax credits all the more urgent.
Currently $13 million in tax credits are available to donors and we are asking the legislature to increase that to at least $17 million in coming years. Our goal has been $20 million for a number of years but House and Senate proposals have been introduced and we want to support the larger number currently found in the Iowa Senate’s proposal.
Both the Iowa House and the Senate versions of a tax bill include an increase in the STO tax credits among a number of other tax-related topics. Senate File 631 includes a $4 million increase for a total of $17 million. If all tax credits were expended, that would raise about $26 million for scholarships. House File 779 includes a $1 million increase.
The Iowa Department of Revenue estimates this program saves the state at least $12 million a year because the students don’t attend a public school that would cost the state more money. The state does not write any checks for these scholarships as the money raised is private and the tax credits are a complete and separate discussion from public school funding. The session is in its final days and we are hopeful, with your help, we can get this increase over the finish line!
Please send your legislators a message in support of an increase in School Tuition Organization tax credits. Use the personal story box to add a personal story, communicate your desire for more children to have access to your school’s atmosphere/programing, or provide a general greeting or anecdote. Then, please read through the suggested message that will be included in the body of your email to your state representative and state senator and customize it to ensure they get as many uniquely written messages as possible.