New effort for scholarship tax credits in Kentucky starts

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) Another push to allow scholarship tax credits in Kentucky starts.

Two bills were filed in the General Assembly this past week. But will the effort stall again, this time with a new governor in office?

Students and school choice supporters celebrated another National School Choice Week in Kentucky.

“Not all schools can meet each child’s needs. When they look at our school, they look for the small, family atmosphere that we have,” says Stephanie Blankenberger, principal at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Hopkinsville.

As they celebrate this week, they start work on another effort to get scholarship tax credits for non-public schools approved by the General Assembly.

“I don’t know why anybody would oppose choice,” says Andrew Vandiver, Vice President of EdChoice Kentucky.

The bills propose people and businesses getting non-refundable tax credits for donating to scholarship programs that help pay tuition for students in nonpublic schools. A House bill filed last year didn’t pass, even with support from former Governor Matt Bevin. A spokeswoman for current Governor Andy Beshear says he’s against the bills.

“When you have a difference in government, it absolutely changes the wave of things and you have to continue to advocate what your needs are and stay true to your needs,” says Julie Eadens, President of Holy Name School.

The new bills come as Gov. Beshear proposes millions of dollars in new public school funding, and a $2,000 pay raise for teachers. Vandiver says the state can have both scholarship tax credits and more money for public schools.

“It does take time to change that, but we feel very positive about this year. We’ve seen more support on the grassroots level than ever before. We have the support of House leadership,” he says, when asked about the chances for the bills to pass this session.

Both bills are now with appropriations and revenue committees in both the House and Senate.

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(This story was originally published on January 31, 2020)

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