Kentucky parents torn on school choice bill

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 5:32 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A controversial bill that will allow parents to choose where to send their children to school passed Monday night, following several hours in the chambers to bypass last week’s veto by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

House Bill 563 will create a tax credit system of $25 million for low-income families. It allows them to choose where their children enroll for school, including private schools, and removes residency restrictions.

Advocates claim it gives lower-income families more educational choices. Opponents say they’re concerned the bill keeps funds from already financially-stressed public schools.

Stephen McCray is a local father of four who attended Kentucky schools in multiple districts when he was growing up.

”My biggest frustration is not trying to make sure each school is equally-funded or just making sure is established so all children are getting quality education,” McCray said, adding that he isn’t sure the bill is the answer. He said he wants the best opportunities not just for his kids, but for all Kentucky children, adding parents shouldn’t have to move their children for a chance at a great education.

Every school should be improved.

“When you’re not funded and don’t have quality teachers, you’re not going to get the best information and chance,” McCray said.

When put up to a vote Monday evening, the House voted 51-42 in favor of the bill. The Senate voted 23-14 in favor, overriding Beshear’s veto.

The governor called it unconstitutional, and especially harmful to rural districts and public school funding. Beshear said he could consider challenging the bill in court if it does pass into law.

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