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Kentucky Gov. Beshear Lends Support to School Choice Lawsuit

— January 13, 2023

The lawsuit contends that a recently-enacted Kentucky law providing for the incorporation of at least two charter schools would illegally divert resources away from public school districts.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has announced his support for a lawsuit challenging a recently-enacted school choice law that would provide charter schools with additional funding.

According to The Associated Press, Beshear—a Democrat—said he believes the law should be struck down.

The lawsuit, adds The Associated Press, claims that the school-of-choice policy would effectively reroute public funds to private charter schools, in violation of the Kentucky constitution.

“The Kentucky Constitution demands that public money go to public schools, and not to unaccountable schools operated outside the management and control of the school district’s elected board of education,” the lawsuit states.

Gov. Beshear echoed the same arguments made in the complaint, repeatedly stressing that public funds should be strictly allocated to public schools.

“The charter school bill is unconstitutional,” Beshear said during a weekly news conference. “I worry that a lot of this comes down to dollars, and it’s merely an effort to send dollars that go to public education to private corporations.”

“That’s wrong,” Beshear said.

A line of schoolbuses. Listed as free for commercial use on Pxfuel.

The Associated Press reports that school-of-choice advocates suffered a legal defeat in December, when the state Supreme Court rejected an effort to award tax credits for donations to privately-run education institutions.

In a statement to the media, Beshear said that a similar principle should extend to the recent school choice law.

“The Kentucky Supreme Court’s recent opinion couldn’t be clear,” Beshear said. “Public dollars have to go to public schools.”

“I believe that precedent will be applied—or should be applied—and I believe it was clear enough that the Supreme Court will apply it,” the governor added.

According to The Associated Press, Gov. Beshear vetoed a similar law last yaer.

However, the state’s Republican-controlled legislature overrode Beshear’s veto, in spite of the governor’s objections.

The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a Kentucky-based “free market think tank,” said that the lawsuit—and Gov. Beshear’s support—could deprive parents of the right to send their children to affordable, high-quality schools.

“If successful, this lawsuit will result in many Kentucky parents continuing to be denied an affordable option for better public educations for their children,” the Bluegrass Institute said in a statement.

The school choice law, writes The Associated Press, requires that at least two charter schools open in Kentucky, ostensibly to study the impact that charter schools could have on students’ educational opportunities.

“The competition from school choice creates a rising tide that lifts all boats in public education, whether in traditional or charter schools,” the Bluegrass Institute said.


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