Letter to the Editor by Karen Pratte

To the Editor:

Casting your vote for the person who will  represent you is fundamental to having your voice heard. Voters in Allamakee and Clayton Counties elected Anne Osmundson to represent them in the Iowa State House of Representatives. But, she did not vote on our behalf when it came to school vouchers.

Iowans have always taken pride in our public schools and want them supported. This overwhelming support was evident at the large number of individuals and groups who spoke out against private school vouchers at the State Capitol and at town halls.

At a recent town hall meeting at Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar, Rep. Osmundson, State Senator Klimesh and Rep. Bergan heard from their constituents. At this standing-room-only town hall, the loud, clear message was “don’t support the Voucher Bill.” Public school superintendents, teachers, parents with children and those without children resoundingly shared how vouchers will harm public schools.

Rural public schools are already struggling due to decades of underfunding.  Vouchers give parents sending their children to private schools $7,600 a  year. So, 33,000 parents will receive close to $1 billion dollars over the next four years. Note that taxpayers in Allamakee and Clayton Counties will be giving their money to parents living in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Dubuque, cities which have the largest number of private schools.

When Representative Osmundson was asked why she was supporting this  Voucher Bill, her response was, “I want those children and families in Des Moines and Waterloo to have a choice to go to private schools.”

Apparently, Rep. Osmundson cares more about people in Des Moines than she does about her constituents in Allamakee and Clayton Counties whose children attend public school.

Giving taxpayers’ money to parents who send their children to private schools has been Governor Kim Reynolds’ priority. So, it boils down to Party Loyalty versus Representing Constituents. Rep. Osmundson and State Senator Klimesh chose Party Loyalty and voted yes to vouchers.

We deserve leaders who will vote for their communities and protect the schools, businesses and families who call it home. What will happen to our small towns without strong, quality public schools? In the next election, vote for candidates who will truly represent you, the candidates who put people over politics.

Karen Pratte