Lowa parents can now enroll their children in any public school regardless of where they live at any point throughout the year after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law Tuesday removing a March 1 deadline to declare their intention to switch districts.
The change takes effect immediately, meaning families no longer need to give a reason to send their student to a new district anytime throughout the year as long as the new district accepts them.
The measure was included in House File 2589, a budget bill passed on the final day of the legislative session.
Reynolds also signed House File 2581, which changes some programs administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and House File 2470, which implements recommendations of a state artisanal butchery task force.
Tuesday’s signings mean the 2022 legislative session is truly over. Reynolds has now either signed or vetoed every piece of legislation passed by Iowa lawmakers this year.
The 2022 session was dominated by fights over education policy as Republicans, who hold majorities in the Iowa House and Senate, struggled to reach an agreement on policies they argued would give parents more say over their children’s education.
Lawmakers voted to eliminate the school open enrollment deadline after it became clear the Iowa House lacked the votes to pass a more ambitious proposal from Reynolds that would have given 10,000 Iowa families scholarships to pay for private school expenses.
Reynolds, a Republican, has made the topic a marquee campaign issue and campaigned against Republican House incumbents who did not support her proposal. Eight of the nine candidates Reynolds endorsed won their primary elections earlier this month, and four sitting GOP lawmakers were ousted.
Iowa Democrats opposed both Reynolds’ scholarship proposal and eliminating the open enrollment deadline. They said getting rid of the deadline could undermine school districts’ ability to set a budget by April 15 every year, as they are required to do by law.