Kentucky school choice law challenged by Council for Better Education

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A group that fought for – and won – a landmark education case in Kentucky have said they plan to sue the state’s new choice of law law. school.

In an email sent to all Kentucky superintendents obtained by The Courier Journal, the Council for Better Education said it plans to sue Monday to stop the creation of education opportunity accounts.

“Based on the advice of legal counsel, we believe there are several articles in the KY Constitution that make HB 563 unconstitutional – regarding scholarship tax credits for private schools “the email says.

The email did not specify how the provision was unconstitutional. A CBE spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday evening.

The Kentucky Finance Cabinet and the Kentucky Department of Revenue are expected to be the only defendants named in the lawsuit, according to the email.

Read it: What are education opportunity accounts?

He did not name the court where he planned to bring an action, but noted that the Frankfort and Warren County school boards voted to work with CBE on the litigation – a decision “necessary for such dispute be filed by CBE. ”

House Bill 563, designed as an omnibus school choice measure, became law in March after the legislator narrowly canceled a veto right by Governor Andy Beshear. In veto, Beshear called the measure unconstitutional on several fronts and predicted that someone would challenge it in court.

The Institute of Justice, which won the Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue school choice case in the US Supreme Court, said after the March vote that it “stands ready” to defend the law in court.

Related: After years of controversial political battles, Kentucky has a choice of school. And after?

Education Opportunities Accounts provide a tax credit to people who donate to third party groups who then give money to families for education expenses and, in larger Kentucky counties, the private school tuition fees.

Opponents argue that tax credits are a backdoor way of funding private schools with taxpayer dollars when direct funding of private schools violates the state constitution. The credits – up to $ 25 million a year for five years – would also take funds out of already underfunded classrooms, they say.

Proponents counter that Kentucky offers larger tax credits that are not in dispute, which would give students choice in their education.

Another section of the law requiring districts to create open enrollment policies, which enjoys mixed support among district leaders, will not be affected by the lawsuit.

Background: How has the Kentucky Watershed Education Reform Act held up?

CBE brought the historic Rose v. Kentucky Council for Better Education, arguing that the state’s education system is failing children. In 1989, the state Supreme Court agreed, ruling that the existing system was inequitable and inadequate, which led to an overhaul of the state’s school system the following year.

This story will be updated.

Contact Olivia Krauth at [email protected] and on Twitter at @oliviakrauth.

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