CCK says passage of educational choice bill a victory

The Catholic Conference of Kentucky, which represents the commonwealth’s bishops in matters of public policy, counts the passage of House Bill 563 as a victory for educational choice.

The bill was passed by the House in a 48-47 vote March 16 and has been sent to the governor.

The bill creates an Education Opportunity Accounts (EOA) program, similar to the scholarship tax credit program, which the CCK has supported in years past. Individuals and businesses would receive a tax credit for donating to certain nonprofits, said Andrew Vandiver, associate director of the CCK. These non-profits would use the funds to help families pay for education services.

Families state-wide can receive assistance to pay for services, such as therapy for special needs children and technology. The bill also gives families who live in counties with a population larger than 90,000 access to need-based tuition assistance for non-public schools.

“We’re proud of what we were able to accomplish,” said Vandiver. “We fought really hard for a statewide program. … We feel disappointed that we couldn’t get more counties included, but this gives us momentum” going forward.

Vandiver noted there are families in all four Kentucky dioceses who will benefit from tuition assistance for non-public schools under this bill.

The bill will allow for tuition assistance to non-public schools in Jefferson, Fayette, Kenton, Boone, Campbell, Hardin, Warren and Daviess counties.

“It’s a really good first step. We have to walk before we can run,” said Vandiver. He said the bill may face a veto from the governor, who has 10 days to consider it. The Kentucky General Assembly is now on a two-week break, but legislators may be able to override a veto when they return for two days at the end of March, he added.

 

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