FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) -- On a cold, snowy day at the Kentucky Capitol, school choice supporters felt that the legislature was finally warming up to their ideas now that Republicans control of the House, Senate and the Governor's seat.
“School choice” in Kentucky is taking the shape of two issues this legislative session. One plan includes two bills with the same wording. House Bill 162, filed in the House by Representatives John “Bam” Carney who is a public school teacher and Senate Bill 102, filed by Senator Ralph Alvarado, a doctor. Their plan creates scholarships to private schools for qualifying families. The scholarships would be funded by donors who receive state tax credits for donating money to scholarship-granting organizations.
“We need to get politics out of the way,” said 51st District State Representative Carney. “We need to get race out of the way and we need to get economic status out of the way and do what's best by the child. And I'm convinced that my 138 colleagues that are in Frankfort will make those measures happen and happen soon.”
“Making this idea a reality in Kentucky would help underprivileged families whose parents want to send their children to private schools,” said Kentucky’s 28th District State Senator, Ralph Alvarado. “And this legislation would also help children with disabilities who seek a non-public school alternative."
State Representative Phil Moffett was in the crowd. His house bill, HB103, would allow for the creation of Charter Schools in Kentucky.
Teachers unions and other organizations that oppose this legislation did not attend the rally to counter the message. They often question the use of public monies for privately managed schools and whether poor performing students or those with disabilities will be left behind.
Pastor Jerry Stephenson, an outspoken supporter of "school choice,” called education "the civil rights issue of our time.”
“It's time for our children to be able to have their rights, their opportunities,” Pastor Stephenson said to a cheering crowd. “For the days to come ahead, there's gonna be some rough times, and without a good education, without a great education, our children can't make it.”
Lawmakers anticipate both bills to receive hearings shortly after the General Assembly returns to work on February 7.
We’ve added links to the wording of the House Bills 103 and 162 and Senate Bill 102 to this story so you can read the proposals for yourself as you decide where you stand on the issue.
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