School Choice Policies

Charter School Choice

Does the state have charter schools?

Are for-profit charter schools or management companies allowed?

Did not find

Is there a cap on the number of charter schools?

Did not find-

We did not find information about caps on charter schools in Iowa statutes. However, there is a cap on the number of innovation zone consortiums: "[t]he state board shall approve not more than ten innovation zone consortium applications."

An innovation zone consortium is defined as "...a consortium of two or more school districts and an area education agency in which one or more of the school districts are located, that receives approval to establish an innovation zone school pursuant to this chapter."

Education Commission of the States indicates that while Iowa has a cap on the number of innovation zone consortiums, there are no caps on charter schools.

256F.3 (8): Application

Education Commission of the States 50-State Comparison

Are charters required to provide transportation for any students?


Charters must comply with regulations for public schools and must outline means, costs, and plans for providing transportation to students.

Public school regulations: The board of directors in every school district shall provide transportation, either directly or by reimbursement for transportation, for all resident pupils attending public school, kindergarten through twelfth grade.

256F.4.2.i: General operating requirements.
256F.5 (16): Application- definition
285.1.a: When entitled to state aid.

Can charter schools employ uncertified teachers?


Charters must comply with state rules and teaching standards. "Teacher" means a licensed member of a school’s instructional staff.

256F.7 (1): Employment and related matters
272.1.(16): Definitions

Virtual School Choice

Do state statutes allow for full-time virtual schools?


Virtual learning within participating schools/districts is permitted.

281—15.1(256) Purpose

Are virtual schools required to track attendance?

Did not find-

School district must monitor and verify full-time enrollment, timely completion of graduation requirements, course credit accrual, course completion, progress and performance. We did not find mention of whether virtual schools are required to track attendance.

281-15.7(2)a-b. School district responsibilities- monitoring and supervision

Do virtual schools have to comply with state teacher certification requirements?


Teachers must be appropriately licensed for educational level and content area and will receive training for effective practices which enhance learning by telecommunications.

281-15.5 Teacher preparation and accessibility

Private School Choice

Does the state have voucher programs?


No voucher programs found.

EdChoice School Choice in America

Does the state have educational expense tuition tax credits or deductions?


Tuition and textbook tax credit: "A tuition credit equal to twenty-five percent of the first one thousand dollars which the taxpayer has paid to others for each dependent in grades kindergarten through twelve, for tuition and textbooks of each dependent in attending an elementary or secondary school situated in Iowa..."

422.12.2.b. Deductions from computed tax.

Can students use vouchers to attend religious schools?

Not Applicable-

However, households cannot receive the credit for expenses for tuition or textbooks used for the teaching of religious tenets, doctrines, or worship, the purpose of which is to inculcate those tenets, doctrines, or worship.

422.12.1.d-e. Deductions from computed tax.

Is there a cap on the number of students or private schools participating in voucher programs?

Not Applicable-

However, there is a cap for the tuition and textbook tax credit: $250 per student that spends $1000.

422.12.2.b. Deductions from computed tax.

Are voucher students in private schools required to take any standardized tests?

Not Applicable

Can private schools be removed from voucher programs based on performance?

Not Applicable

Are private schools in voucher programs required to provide transportation?

Not Applicable

Interdistrict School Choice

Does the state have interdistrict choice programs?


"'Open enrollment' is the procedure allowing a parent/guardian to enroll one or more pupils in a public school district other than the district of residence at no tuition cost."

281—17.2(282) Definitions

Are receiving schools or districts required to provide transportation to any students?


"Open enrollment pupils that meet the economic eligibility requirements established by the department of education shall receive transportation assistance from their resident district under the following conditions. The resident district is not required to provide any transportation assistance for a pupil involved in open enrollment with a district that is not contiguous with the pupil’s resident district. The resident district shall provide transportation for the pupil to a point that is a designated stop on a regular bus route of a contiguous receiving district, or as an alternative, the resident district shall pay the parent/guardian for providing this transportation. In either situation the resident district is not obligated to expend more than the average cost per pupil transported amount established for that district for the previous school year."

"A parent/guardian shall be eligible for transportation assistance from the resident district if the household income of the parent/guardian is at or below 160 percent of the federal income poverty guidelines as stated by household size."

281-17.9(2): 281-17.9(2): Qualifications and provisions for transportation assistance.

281-17.9(3) Economic eligibility requirements for transportation

Page last updated: February 2021

Click here to download the State Policy Spreadsheet. Click here to download the State Policy Map Data Memo.

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The State Policy Map provides a snapshot of school choice policy found in laws passed by the legislative bodies, for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on information gathered from state statutes in fall 2019; data checks continued through December 2020. Information on this site may not include the most up-to-date policy information. The State Policy Map does not systematically reflect state Department of Education administrative policies, rules, or regulations. All content on this site is provided for informational purposes only. Links to third-party websites are for the user’s convenience; neither REACH nor any affiliated entities endorse the contents of third-party sites.

Note: On June 30, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Montana's exclusion of religious schools from the state's tax credit scholarship program was unconstitutional (Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue 591). The responses to the question "Can students use vouchers to attend religious schools?" were collected before this ruling and therefore do not reflect any changes resulting from the Espinoza decision.