A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rally in Capitol Rotunda supported HB 208, the school choice constitutional amendment

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A rally in the State Capitol Rotunda last week, part of National School Choice Week, supported the school choice constitutional amendment.

Among the speakers was House Education Committee Chairman James Tipton, R-Taylorsville. He told those on hand, “I believe we have to have a strong public education system in our state, but I also support parents, students and their families having the ability to make the choices that are best for their individual families.

Crowd gathered in Capitol Rotunda to support school choice amendment. (Photo by Tom Latek/KyToday)

“We’ve often heard that education should be the great equalizer, and it’s true. But unfortunately, not every family, not every child, has that equal opportunity.”

Tipton said he and his wife sent their three children to a private Christian school, but not everyone is financially able to do that.

“I firmly believe that in this session, before we adjourn on April 15, we will pass legislation to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot, for the citizens of Kentucky to make a decision that will allow us to change the Constitution, clearing the way for the General Assembly in 2025 to move educational choice in Kentucky forward.”

Secretary of State Michael Adams also spoke in favor of school choice being made by families, not the government.

“Why? Because families have different needs and priorities. For too long, we have denied families the choice on how their children are to be educated.”

As the state’s chief election officer, Adams noted, “We were one of the last states to expand voting access and I worked hard to catch us up to the rest of the country, so Kentucky isn’t last in everything. We should do the same thing in education that we’ve done in elections, and that is give us more options.

“Parental choice starts with voter choice at the ballot box. I was the first statewide elected official to call for a constitutional amendment to empower families in education, and I’m proud to stand with you here today.”

Lawmakers “could better serve the students and taxpayers across Kentucky by addressing the vital needs of our public schools, like the statewide teacher shortage, funding for universal pre-K and fully funding the transportation dollars Kentucky needs,” KEA President Eddie Campbell said in a statement.

Campbell said the KEA is ready for the showdown in the legislature and perhaps in November.

“Once taxpayers understand the negative impact this bill and amendment could mean to their public schools, we are confident they will reject it,” he said.

House Bill 208, a proposed constitutional amendment on school choice sponsored by Rep. Josh Calloway, R-Irvington, has not yet been assigned to a committee.  

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