Lawsuit filed to stop scholarship tax credits and private school vouchers; KEA applauds the filing

Forward Kentucky
Forward Kentucky

On Friday, a coalition of school systems working with the Council for Better Education said they were going to file a lawsuit to stop the scholarship tax credit program passed in this year’s legislative session. Today (Monday), they filed that lawsuit.

House Bill 563, which was vetoed by Governor Beshear but then had the veto overridden, had two main provisions: requiring school systems to set up procedures to accept students from outside their district, and setting up the scholarship tax program. The lawsuit filed today only deals with the tax credit / private school part of the bill; it does not address the “borderless schools” concept.

As noted by the Herald-Leader:

The Council for Better Education is a nonprofit corporation whose members include 168 of Kentucky’s 173 public school districts. The organization was formed in 1984 and brought the lawsuit “that culminated in the historic Rose v. CBE ruling on Kentucky’s constitutional education obligations,” its website said. The ruling led to major changes in Kentucky public education.

In response to the filing of the lawsuit, the president of the Kentucky Education Association, Eddie Campbell, issued this statement:

“As educators, we believe our students — no matter what they look like, where they live or where they come from — deserve access to high-quality education at their neighborhood public schools. That is why the Kentucky Education Association applauds the brave plaintiffs who filed suit today in Franklin Circuit Court challenging HB563, an unconstitutional school voucher program.

“Left unchecked, HB563 would steal away $125 million vital taxpayer dollars to give to private schools and unaccountable, unregulated, ‘education service providers.’ These private schools and providers are not required to meet any education standards or to accept all students — and often engage in LGBTQ, religious, family or disability discrimination. HB 563 forces taxpayers to be complicit in a private organization’s discriminatory practices.

“The General Assembly has tried to conceal HB 563’s constitutional defects by funding it through tax handouts to wealthy donors and allowing private management organizations — in exchange for a generous fee — to set up a publicly-funded education system that operates outside the common schools. Bad legislation like HB563 is not policy taxpayers of Kentucky need from their legislature. Public dollars should never be spent to create an education system that allows, encourages, or perpetuates discrimination. We are confident that the court will find for the plaintiffs.”


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