Ky. Supreme Court finds school choice measure unconstitutional
Published 3:28 pm Thursday, December 15, 2022
The Kentucky Supreme Court struck down 2021 legislation that helped fund private schools on Thursday, finding it to be unconstitutional and unanimously upholding a lower court ruling.
Last year, both the House and Senate passed House Bill 563, which was known as the Educational Opportunity Account Act, allowing Kentucky taxpayers who donate to account granting organizations (AGOs) to receive a nearly dollar-for-dollar tax credit against their income taxes. These AGOs would allocate taxpayer contributions to education opportunity accounts, known as EOAs, which are set up for eligible students. EOA funds could be used for various education-related expenses, but the primary focus was their availability to defray the costs of nonpublic school tuition for eligible students.
“After a thorough review, we conclude the EOA Act violates Section 184 and, consequently, affirm the circuit court’s holding that the statute is unconstitutional. With this conclusion, the remaining constitutional challenges to the EOA Act are rendered moot.”
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Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who sought to have the Franklin Circuit Court ruling overturned, stated, “We’re saddened that parents across the Commonwealth won’t be able to use the needs-based funding provided by Kentucky’s Education Opportunity Account Program to expand learning opportunities for their children. Our office is committed to helping ensure the best educational opportunity for every child.”
Gov. Beshear posted his reaction on social media: “Today’s ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court couldn’t be more clear: state funding for private or charter schools is unconstitutional – period. It’s time for the General Assembly to invest in our public schools, our teachers and our children.”