A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Council for Better Education opposes constitutional amendment on private schools funding

In light of the Kentucky General Assembly’s passage of HB 2, the Council for Better Education (CBE) is voicing its strong opposition to the constitutional amendment, citing the negative impact it will have on the future of public education in Kentucky.

This legislation puts a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot that, if passed, will redirect public funds to unaccountable private schools.

This represents a significant departure from the principles of equity, accountability, and community that underpin our public education system. Not only are vouchers bad public policy, but the ballot language proposed in HB 2 is misleading.

Tom Shelton, the spokesperson for the Council for Better Education, articulated CBE’s concerns: “The passage of HB 2 represents a grave misstep for our state. It paves the way for public dollars—funds meant to support the education of every child in Kentucky—to be funneled into unaccountable, private institutions that are not held to the same standards of accountability and transparency as our public schools.

“Starving public schools of the critical resources they need to operate effectively not only compromises the quality of education available to every child in our state but also erodes the principle of equitable access to education for all.

“Vouchers are bad public policy. They present runaway budgetary costs well above projections and fiscal notes, as seen in states that have gone down this road – essentially bankrupting Arizona for example. They mostly subsidize existing private school students, and in many cases exacerbate teacher shortages that are already at crisis levels. Some leaders who have pushed this failed policy in Tennessee now openly regret it.”

The Council for Better Education is particularly focused on the potential implications of HB 2 for rural and underserved communities, where public schools often serve as the backbone of educational opportunity and the foundation of our communities.

“Diverting funds to private schools will disproportionately affect our most vulnerable students, putting our rural and underserved areas at a disadvantage,” Shelton emphasized.

In response to the passage of HB 2, the Council for Better Education is making plans to take further action. 

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