Rally held at State Capitol to support 'School Choice' in Kentuc - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Rally held at State Capitol to support 'School Choice' in Kentucky

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Supporters of school choice held a rally outside Kentucky’s State Capitol on Friday to push for legislation that would give families more education options.

It was a sea of yellow outside the Capitol, yellow scarves symbolizing the school choice movement. Hundreds gathered from across the Commonwealth, braving the cold weather and snow flurries to push for new laws allowing more options for students.

They want public charter schools as well as tax credits and vouchers to help parents pay for private, home and online education.

“Kentucky is one of the few states in the country that doesn't have any form of school choice, and we think we have legitimate issue,” said Charles Leis, president of EdChoice KY told WDRB News.

For years, efforts at school choice were blocked in the state House, which was controlled by Democrats.

But now, with the GOP in full control, advocates are expecting action.

“It is not just a time to ask for school choice options for Kentucky," longtime advocate Charity Wolf Edmonston told the crowd. "It's time to expect school choice options for Kentucky."

One lawmaker who attended the rally promised results.

“I'm convinced that my 138 colleagues that are in Frankfort will make those measures happen, and happen soon,” said Rep. John “Bam” Carney (R-Campbellsville).

One bill already filed would give tax credits to businesses who donate to a special scholarship program. It would help low and middle income parents pay private school tuition.

“A scholarship tax credit program would level the playing field for Kentucky students by increasing financial aid, so that all families have the dignity of school choice,” said Andrew Vandiver, associate director of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky.

Opponents say they are concerned that school choice would drain dollars from traditional public schools.

But those gathered for the rally say there is room for both.

“Every student learns differently, and we can be supporters of both traditional public schools and school choice, and I support both, and I'm proud to do so,” Carney said.

What is unclear is how much of the school choice agenda can be passed in the 25 days left in this year's session.

Lawmakers return to Frankfort on Feb. 7.

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