KEA applauds plaintiffs as Ky court hears challenge to private school vouchers

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Franklin Circuit Court heard oral arguments Thursday in the challenge to HB 563, the controversial scholarship tax credit bill that was passed into law in the last days of the 2021 regular legislative session. A coalition of plaintiffs, including the Council for Better Education, filed suit in June challenging the constitutionality of the law. The Kentucky Education Association has expressed its support for the plaintiffs.

The following statement can be attributed to KEA President Eddie Campbell:

“We applaud these parents who have joined this lawsuit and are challenging this program in court because it’s the right thing to do. HB 563 violates both the letter and the spirit of the Kentucky Constitution, which makes providing public education the state’s highest duty. These plaintiffs are standing up for all Kentucky students to ensure that the legislature’s unconstitutional actions will not go unchecked.

“Under the Kentucky Constitution, the General Assembly must provide for and oversee an efficient system of common schools and cannot raise or spend funds on private schools that serve a select few. HB 563 violates that sound precedent as determined in the court’s ruling in Rose v. Council for Better Education and other cases. Additionally, the tax credit program was not submitted to the voters for approval, as the constitution requires.

“Research has shown that private school voucher programs in other states have demonstrated no positive effect on students’ educational outcomes, and often negatively impact student achievement. In fact, some evidence illustrates they may exacerbate school segregation and fund discrimination and they are prone to waste, fraud, and abuse.

“We simply can’t afford to support two different education systems — one private and one public — on the taxpayers’ dime. HB 563 would hurt students here in Kentucky because it undermines the hard work that has been done since to improve public education in the commonwealth since Rose. HB 563 is unconstitutional and cannot be allowed to stand.”

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