Supporters rally for school choice at the Capitol

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- A school choice rally at the Capitol Thursday in Frankfort drew a big crowd of supporters. It is one of more than 40,000 similar school choice celebrations across the country this week.

Cheering and dancing kept the crowd of kids and educators warm as they listened to state leaders explain their support for school choice.

“The fact is many struggling families cannot afford to pay for a private school education even when their child’s needs demand one,” republican Majority Floor Leader Bam Carney said.

Save Our Schools Kentucky Co-Founder Gay Adelmann says private and charter schools have less accountability and more opportunities for fraud plus an emphasis on making money rather than on improving programs.

“We are opposed to anything that takes public tax dollars away from public schools,” Adelmann said.

Carney says as soon as the legislature is back in session, he plans to file a bill that would create scholarship tax credits, allowing people to donate money to a nonprofit that would help families afford tuition for schools they might not otherwise be able to afford.

Adelmann says a $1,000 dollar donation, for example, would then mean $1,000 dollars in taxes that wouldn’t go into the state’s general fund, which pays for schools and road repair.

“Our schools are already under-funded and anything that takes money away from our public schools would only tip that scale further,” Adelmann said.

Several of the speakers at the rally say they support public education.

“I’ve also worked in schools long enough to know that no school, no matter how good it is, can be a perfect fit for every child,” Gary Houchens, a Kentucky Board of Education member, said.

Adelmann says states with the tax credits are learning from mistakes while Kentucky is moving up in education rankings.

“We need to continue to stay the course and do what is working in Kentucky,” Adelmann said.

School choice supporters think it’s time for something new.

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