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Legislators and school administrators discuss Gov. Reynolds' school choice bill

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

On this Legislative Day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer and IPR education reporter Grant Gerlock talk with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle about Governor Kim Reynolds' proposal to give state funding to parents to send their kids to private schools.

The legislation has failed to pass the last two years due to a lack of House Republican support. This year's proposal imposes no income limits on who qualifies for education savings accounts once the program is fully phased in.

There are more than 20 new GOP House members this session, and House Republicans have taken steps to change their own rules to fast-track the governor's bill and let it bypass the House Appropriations Committee.

Kieffer and Gerlock talk with two members of the newly created House Education Reform Committee, Representative John Wills of Dickinson County and Representative Sue Cahill of Marshall County. They also talk with school administrators on both sides of the bill, and respond to listeners' email and call-in questions.


  • Rep. John Wills, Republican from Spirit Lake
  • Dwight Gingerich, principal of Hillcrest Academy
  • Rep. Sue Cahill, Democrat from Marshalltown
  • Dan Barkel, shared superintendent, Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn, Remsen-Union school districts
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Grant Gerlock is a reporter covering Des Moines and central Iowa
Dani Gehr is a producer for River to River and Talk of Iowa. Dani came to Iowa from her hometown in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to attend Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism, international studies and French. Before coming to IPR, Dani covered local government in Story County for the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register.
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.