Democratic Iowa state Sen. Tom Courtney has alleged that a group of lawmakers who homeschool their own children have been working to sabotage public schools in the state.
After days of working to hammer out an agreement on public school funding, reports indicated this week that Republicans and Democrats were close to a deal.
But Courtney told the Iowa Daily Democrat that the compromise would be "barely enough" to provide a minimum level of education for children.
“Some schools are going to take it in the shorts over this,” Courtney explained. “That’s just barely enough to do them any good.”
“It’s just not enough, but it’s enough to keep them going,” he lamented. “It’s enough to pull back the pink slips they sent out last week and it’s better than nothing.”
Under the proposed budget, Courtney warned that class sizes would increase, and that a pre-Kindergarten program might have to shutter operations completely.
“Some schools are now starting programs where they have an extra year to get the kids ready,” he noted. “If they don’t get the money those will close.”
According to the Democratic state senator, a group of homeschooling Republicans in the House and the Senate shouldered much of the blame for blocking public school funding.
“We’ve got about 20 percent of this Legislature are home schoolers,” he pointed out. The Daily Democrat confirmed that "16 members of the House and four or five members of the Senate" home schooled their children instead of sending them to public schools.
And Courtney said that those members were not interested in tax dollars funding public education.
“They don’t have any desire to keep public schools funded if they vote in a block that’s enough,” the lawmaker observed. “I’ve been afraid of this for a while. I think that is what is going on and I believe I’m right.”
Watch the school funding report below from WHBF, broadcast May 11, 2015.