Council Bluffs community responds to voucher bill


The state of Iowa recently passed a bill that will provide families with a voucher worth $7598 per student to pay for tuition at private schools. This new legislation has been met with both excitement and concern, with some seeing it as a way to increase educational options for families, while others worry about its impact on public schools.

The superintendent of the Council Bluffs Community School District, Dr. Vickie Murillo, spoke with the Echoes about the bill and its potential effects on public schools. 

“I want to take the high road, because there is no doubt that the bill is going to affect us, we need to… work collectively to get the best outcome that we can get,” Murillo said.

The Echoes also spoke with a few teachers from the Council Bluffs Community School District about their thoughts on the voucher bill.

A teacher new to Abraham Lincoln, but not public schools, expressed her concern about the impact on students who remain in public schools. 

“I’m worried that the best students and families will leave for private schools, leaving those who remain with fewer resources and opportunities. Public schools have a responsibility to educate all students, regardless of their background or abilities, and this voucher program could make that more difficult.”

Ms. Marry Assman, a veteran substitute teacher, believes that competition from private schools could be a positive thing. 

“I think having competition will drive public schools to improve and be more innovative,” Assman said “It’s a wake-up call that we need to step up our game.”

Not everyone is in favor of the voucher bill, however. An anonymous Council Bluffs city council member who is against the bill shared his thoughts. 

“I believe this voucher program is just another attempt to privatize education and take funding away from public schools. Public schools are already underfunded, and this bill will only make that problem worse. Additionally, private schools are not held to the same standards or accountability as public schools, and I have concerns about the quality of education that families will receive with this voucher program.”

The voucher bill is set to take effect in the coming school year, we will need to wait to see the impact it has on the education landscape in Iowa. While some are excited about the increased educational options for families, others are concerned about the effects on public schools and the quality of education that families will receive.

“We hope that you (families) select to stay with us versus going there (private schools) because of the opportunities that you are given in our school district,” Murillo said.

During the interview with Dr. Murrillo, she said that the Council Bluffs Community School District remains committed to providing high-quality education to all of its students, regardless of the challenges posed by this new legislation. The district will be closely monitoring the effects and preparing for those of the voucher program. They will also be working with state officials to ensure that all students receive the education they deserve as they prepare to receive the final wording or the law.