Lawmakers voted to override gubernatorial veto this evening
INDIANAPOLIS—EdChoice, a national nonprofit organization that promotes state-based educational choice programs, commends the Commonwealth of Kentucky for embracing educational opportunity with its first school choice program.
Earlier this month, lawmakers in both chambers approved House Bill 563, which contains Education Opportunity Accounts (EOA), a tax-credit-funded ESA program. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed the legislation when it reached his desk. This evening, lawmakers voted to override his veto; the House voted 51-42 to override, and the Senate vote was 23-14.
“This was a hard-fought victory with plenty of senseless roadblocks along the way, but lawmakers ultimately did the right thing for students, and for the first time, Kentucky families will have access to the schooling options they deserve to find the best fit for their kids,” said EdChoice President and CEO Robert Enlow.
The EOA accounts are available to students in households with an annual household income of not more than 175 percent of the amount necessary to establish eligibility for reduced-price meals based on size of the household as determined annually by the USDA. Students also are eligible if they have previously received an EOA from an account-granting organization or are a member of the household of an eligible student that currently has an EOA.
The program is capped at $25 million dollars and will prioritize families with the lowest household income. The EOA program is available to students in counties with more than 90,000 people. Currently, that includes Jefferson, Fayette, Kenton, Boone, Campbell, Hardin, Daviess and Warren Counties.
EdChoice has worked with state partners in Kentucky since 2005, helping train parent advocates and educate policymakers on the benefits of choice.
“What an exciting day for Kentucky students and their families! For the first time in our state’s history, students will have the ability to choose the best school for them, and will be able to pay for education-related expenses they otherwise couldn’t afford,” said Heather Huddleston, a longtime parent advocate who serves as director of education policy at the Bluegrass Institute. “With House Bill 563 becoming law, Kentucky lawmakers have prioritized students and their learning, no matter what zip code they live in or how much money their parents make.”