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Kentucky General Assembly overrides Gov. Beshear's veto of school choice bill

Posted at 9:53 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-29 23:17:45-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Kentucky General Assembly overrode the governor's veto of House Bill 563 - the school choice bill - on Monday.

The House voted 51-42 and the Senate voted 23-14.

The news was received well by school choice supporters, who had rallied outside of the Capitol earlier in the day.

"Kids deserve choice," said Andrew Vandiver with EdChoice Kentucky. "Families deserve choice, and we don't have that in Kentucky right now. House Bill 563 would break new ground - for the first time, having a program that gives low-income families a choice in where their kids go."

"This is going to meet a lot for my family if this bill gets passed," said school choice parent Akia McNeary. "Right now, I have one [child] in private school and her local public school is non-proficient in distinguished reading and math, and I do not want to start that journey with her. So, my other option would be to send her to another public school - with transportation, which is what the school choice bill does. Then also, if not, I will have the opportunity to send her to Zion Christian Academy, as well, with her older brother."

Public education supporters also rallied outside of the Capitol on Monday. But they were encouraging lawmakers to keep the governor's veto of the bill in place.

"It torques me - is the polite way to say it - that my tax money is going to be used to support private schools and parochial schools," said 120 Strong member Chuck Eddy. "I believe in a strict separation of church and state. I don’t think any tax money should go to support that."

"People misunderstand what this backdoor voucher bill does," said Ivonne Rovira with Save Our Schools Kentucky. "They have these poster children - poor, poor kids who are going to go to private school and get the education we all deserve. They never tell you, though, how much the voucher is. It's $4,000. Nobody is going to a pricey private school for four grand. They're just not. Saying that you're going to improve public education by sending vouchers to private schools is like saying 'all these poor kids who can't swim - let's give them a $4,000 voucher to a country club - instead of putting that money into public pools."