Findley Students See Results as Governor Signs Law

Governor Branstad distributes pens to students after signing new college savings legislative at Findley Elementary School.

Governor Branstad distributes pens to students after signing new college savings legislation at Findley Elementary School.

Wednesday morning presented the latest case in point of what a trampoline Des Moines Public Schools is.

Governor Branstad dropped in at Findley Elementary School for a bill-signing ceremony (boing!). Senate File 2301 enables nonprofit organizations to make tax-exempt contributions to individual college savings accounts like the ones the I Have a Dream Foundation has established for students in the Findley Dreamer Academy. Those accounts are administered in Utah, one of the only 11 states that permitted nonprofits to be participants in 529 college savings plans prior to enactment of the legislation Gov. Branstad signed this morning.

Principal Barb Adams would have loved to be there but she’s in Washington DC representing Findley at the White House during this afternoon’s Turnaround Arts command performance for First Lady Michelle Obama (boing!). Findley is the only school from the TA original cohort of eight that’s still part of the federal program. So successful has TA been at Findley that it was expanded to include the whole DMPS Northside feeder pattern. Which is why the Harding Breakerz dance team was included among those performing for the First Lady (boing!).

Washington, by the way, is where DMPS Supt. Tom Ahart was just last week, testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee about federal education law (boing!).

Findley was more than just the picture frame for the signing ceremony. Fourth graders there helped lobby for the bill that eventually passed both houses of the Iowa General Assembly unanimously, one of the rare measures that generates such unequivocal bipartisanship. The young Findley citizens field-tripped to the state capitol as SF 2301 wound its way through the legislative process and let lawmakers know where they stood. Besides whatever impact the brand new law’s passage has on the educational futures of current students and their successors across Iowa, the expansion of 529 participant eligibility, co-sponsored by State Sen. Janet Petersen and State Rep. Zach Nunn who were also present, was a great opportunity for some practical study of the legislative process and how it actually works.

Gov. Branstad passed out the many pens he used in making the bill official and most of the souvenirs went to Findley students. Before they headed back to class they thanked the governor by treating him and everyone else crowded into the school library to a typically enthusiastic demonstration of the mantra they chant first thing every morning:

2-4-6-8, when does 4th grade graduate? 20-20-2028! Aim High! Dream Big!”

The governor reminded the students that they will be eligible to run for state representative when they turn 21, the state senate when they turn 25, and governor or lieutenant governor when they turn 30. Or president when they turn 35, he might have added.

You never can tell in a district with this kind of bounce in its step (boing!).

Video From Bill Signing at Findley

Photos from Bill Signing at Findley

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