LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some teachers and parents are again pushing for the legislatures to enact tax credits that would enable more parents to send their children to private schools.
The group "EdChoice Kentucky" is proposing that people and businesses would get tax credits if they donate to organizations that grant scholarships for people who send their children to private schools.
This would particularly benefit families who currently cannot afford to send their children to their preferred school, the group says.
However, opponents, primarily organizations tied to the state’s public education system, have said such proposals undermine public schools. In addition, they say Kentucky can’t afford to hand back millions of dollars in tax money given the harsh budgetary landscape.
Members of the EdChoice Kentucky met in Frankfort Tuesday, and Andrew Vandiver, the group's vice president, said tax credits would improve school choice in Kentucky, which, he said, currently exists only for some people.
"If you have the financial means, you get school choice but we do not have any programs that assist families who may have a financial challenge. Unfortunately we're in the minority of states that have no program whatsoever for those families."
Nancy Deaton, a supporter or school choice, said. "Every child should have the opportunity to be able to go to a school that fits their needs.
The group, which expects a scholarship tax credit bill will be filed this session, has previously said that a scholarship tax credit program would affect about 6,500 students, or about 1% of K-12 enrollment.
A bill that was under consideration last year would have cost the state $209 million through June 20, 2025, according to the Legislative Research Commission.
Eric Kennedy, government relations director with the Kentucky School Boards Association, said last month that slowly chipping away at districts’ enrollments will gradually put more funding responsibilities on the backs of local taxpayers.
“You don’t save money on a teacher’s salary if only one or two kids, especially of different ages or different grades, leave,” he said. “You don’t have less square footage to heat or cool. There’s almost no cost savings, but there’s an immediate reduction in the state’s support to operate the school.”
The Kentucky Association of School Superintendents and Kentucky Education Association also opposed last year's bill.
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