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Democrat Andy Beshear vetoed school bills passed by the Republican-dominated legislature of Kentucky. Beshear campaigned as a friend of public schools, and he came through for students, parents, teachers, and communities in Kentucky.
Blogger Fred Klonsky has the story from the Louisville Courier Journal by Olivia Krauth:
Calling them a “direct attack” on Kentucky’s public schools, Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed a set of controversial education bills Wednesday.
Chief among the vetoed bills is House Bill 563, which would allow state funding to follow students who attend a public school outside of their home district and create a form of scholarship tax credits that would siphon millions from Kentucky’s general fund.
“Can we expect more from public education? Absolutely,” Beshear said Wednesday. “But the way to do that is not to defund it.”
The measure is “unconstitutional” on multiple fronts, Beshear said, and he expects it to face a legal challenge should his veto be overriden.
The legislation landed on his desk after passing through the House on the slimmest of margins — 48-47 — raising questions if the Republican-led House will get the 51 votes needed to override Beshear’s veto when they reconvene Monday for the final two days of the 2021 legislative session.
Beshear, a Democrat who made public education a cornerstone of his administration, also rejected legislation placing new teachers on “hybrid” pension plans.
In an education-focused press conference, Beshear signed a bill allowing Kentucky students a “do-over” year after the pandemic disrupted classes and milestones for thousands of kids.
VETO OVERRIDE OF SCHOOL CHOICE BILL QUESTIONABLE
A provision to create tax credits to rally donations that would go to private school tuition in Kentucky’s largest areas was the main sticking point in HB 563.
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, a former educator, said the piece of legislation is “unconstitutional” and “unethical.”
A piece of the bill requiring districts to create open enrollment policies with each other was less controversial, with Beshear acknowledging the struggles some leaders of small, independent school districts face and offering to help find a solution outside of this bill.
“Governor Beshear is wrong to veto House Bill 563,” EdChoice KY President Charles Leis said in a statement. “By doing so, he chose to listen to special interests like the KEA (Kentucky Education Association) over the voice of Kentucky parents who are begging for help.”
Leis, whose group backs school choice measures, asked lawmakers to “put students first” and override Beshear’s veto next week.
Beshear expects the legislation to be challenged in court if his veto is overriden, but clarified that he is not threatening legal action himself.
He believes the bill could be challenged on the grounds of sending public money to private schools, he said Wednesday.
It also could be challenged due to Kentucky’s larger public school funding system, which has increasingly placed the funding burden on local school districts.
Kentucky’s Constitution requires the legislature to run an “efficient system of common schools throughout the state,” which several in public education contend lawmakers are not doing due to underfunding...
Beshear also vetoed legislation that previously sparked “sickouts” and the creation of large teacher activism groups in Kentucky.
House Bill 258 would place new teachers on a “hybrid” pension plan that combines aspects of defined contribution and defined benefit plans, rather than the defined benefit plan teachers have currently.
Beshear said previously the “hybrid” plan could push away prospective teachers when states face a shortage of educators.