Board of Education approves rules for Education Savings Accounts

DES MOINES — The State Board of Education Thursday approved the permanent rules for state-funded Education Savings Accounts for private school expenses.

Board attorney Thomas Mayes says they replace the emergency rules created to get the program going, and there are a few changes. “The first would allow the director, allow the Department to consider income reductions after the filing of the previous year’s tax returns. Sometimes things happen,” he says.

He says the permanent rules also clarify who can provide services. “The emergency rules say ‘an approved provider that has a license or a credential issued the State of Iowa.’ The proposal is to clarify that the credential or license must be relevant to the service being provided,” Mayes says. “I think that is a common sense clarification, add some greater accountability for approved provider, some greater assurances for parents that if somebody hangs out their shingle as an approved provider, they’re actually providing and have the authorization to provide what they say they’re providing.”

Mayes was asked about the appeal process to the Board of Ed.  He says it won’t be “everybody that has an ax to grind will immediately get on the agenda,” he says it will be the same process for any other appeal. The issue will first be heard by an administrative law judge just like any other appeal.

The state announced earlier that they’d received some 29,000 applications for the program. The latest update as of July 26th shows nearly 18,500 have been approved, and the others are in the process of being reviewed.