SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — Several school superintendents called on Gov. Andy Beshear Tuesday to veto a bill that supporters say helps remove barriers to school choice.
"This bill we have serious concerns about," Frankfort Independent Schools Superintendent Houston Barber said at a news conference at the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative in Shelbyville. "As superintendents and as leaders in the Commonwealth, we cannot accept that public dollars will go to private school."
House Bill 563 would require school districts to allow students to transfer to a different public school and create education opportunity accounts (EOA) giving grant money for parents to pay for school supplies.
It would also allow parents in counties with a higher population to use the EOA money to pay for private school tuition.
“We believe in choice and we’re willing to have that conversation," said Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio. "It needs to be done right and we need to fully fund public education before we set aside $25 million for private school scholarship tax credits."
Supporters say the bill better meets the needs of Kentucky children and allows EOA funds to pay for tutoring and after-school learning.
“It’s the money going to help poor people in Kentucky get a better education for their children," said the bill sponsor, Rep. Chad McCoy (R, Bardstown) on the House floor on March 12. "This is not hard. This is not scary."
After hours of debate last week, the legislation narrowly passed the House by a vote of 48-47.
If the governor vetoes it, supporters will need 51 votes in the House to override the veto.
Gov. Beshear is expected to talk about education bills on Wednesday.