Beshear vetoes controversial school choice bill

FRANKFORT, Ky. — As expected, Gov. Andy Beshear has vetoed a bill that critics say would have pitted public schools against private schools, as well as against each other.

The School Choice Bill would have created a $25 million tax credit scholarship fund that lower- and middle-class families could use to send their children to schools in other districts or to private schools in Fayette, Jefferson or Kenton counties.

“This measure is a handout to wealthy donors,” said Gov. Beshear. “They would receive tax benefits even larger than charitable donation deductions and could even profit by transferring securities to the private educational institutions to avoid capital gains taxes. HB 563 would lead to the same kinds of funding disparities that the Kentucky Supreme Court held was unconstitutional in Rose v. Council for Better Education in 1989.”

The governor’s veto places the bill in jeopardy.

To override a veto, both houses of the legislature must approve the bill by a majority of their full membership. While the bill was passed with more than enough votes in the Senate, it only received 48 votes in the House, where it will need 51 votes to override.