Kentucky Supreme Court issues ruling about controversial education bill

WATCH | Kentucky Supreme Court issues ruling about controversial education bill
Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 10:49 AM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled “education opportunity accounts” unconstitutional.

[Read the court’s ruling below]

The decision revolves around a controversial education bill that was narrowly passed by the General Assembly in 2021 and vetoed by Governor Andy Beshear. The legislature then overrode that veto.

House Bill 563 would set up what’s called “education opportunity accounts,” which people could contribute to in exchange for tax credits, to help pay for schools outside their districts, including private schools that require tuition.

Opponents say it uses state money to let students attend private schools. A Franklin Circuit Court ruled that unconstitutional and Attorney General Daniel Cameron then appealed that decision to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

The court heard arguments in the case back in October.

The Kentucky Supreme Court released its ruling on Thursday, agreeing with the lower court that the education opportunity accounts are unconstitutional.

Those who were in favor of the bill, like Jim Waters, President of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, say this would’ve given students who didn’t have an opportunity for a better education more options to do so.

“This bill would not have had government paying for this, but would have gotten individuals and businesses involved in the education of our children and helping them. Especially our neediest children get a better education,” Waters said.

While Waters and officials at EdChoice Kentucky say the ruling on HB 563 is disappointing, opponents say this is a great ruling for public education.

President of the Kentucky Education Association Eddie Campbell says the legislature has the responsibility to create and maintain an efficient system of public schools.

“The Kentucky constitution is very clear on the fact that any monies raised for our public schools are spent for public school purposes,” said Campbell. “The constitution, in section 184, is very clear on that.”

Campbell says public tax dollars should be spent on public goods.

Both groups, for and against the bill, tell us they want what is best for students across the state.