FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — An expansion of Kentucky’s School Choice law could pass through the state legislature, which according to proponents of the bill, would open the doors to private schooling for many more Kentuckians who prefer it to the public school system. The bill also allows for students to attend schools outside their district lines.
“So many parents, minority parents, poor parents across the state who would like to have that option and that choice, but don’t have it. I think they should have the same options as my children,” said State Senator, Ralph Alvarado from Kentucky’s 28th district, which includes Clark County.
Alvarado, and State Representative Josh Calloway (R-28th district), discussed how the bill could even help public schools if they take advantage of some of the language included in the bill.
“If you’ve looked at the budget we’ve proposed in the house, increase in seat funding, all-day kindergarten, transportation increase. We’re going to try to take a step forward with our public education, because it is necessary and needed,” Calloway said.
“Other states are doing this (using education grants) to fund public education and Pre-K, and I think we can do that too,” Alvarado said.
The current bill calls for tax-credit grants that are capped at 25 million dollars. In the new bill that cap can reach 50 million dollars as the needs and demands change.
Opponents of the bill (Governor Andy Beshear vetoed it last winter to no avail), feel it gives tax breaks to the wealthy people who fund the grant while stripping large sums of money away from the public schools' system. They also feel it’s too limiting in that the bill only accounts for private schools in the state’s largest counties. Alvarado and other proponents, feel otherwise.
“I think what we passed last year it allowed our public schools to use or set up, or help get a grant set up so they can use those programs to draw private money in. to use it for the same purpose,” Mr. Alvarado explained.
Alvarado said he is in favor of Pre-K education, pointing to the improvement in kids’ development in his own Clark County district when they get that head start on learning.
“As a pediatrician, I’ve seen the science and data behind it,” he said of Pre-K programs.