FRANKFORT – On Wednesday, Gov. Andy Beshear, a proud graduate of Kentucky public schools, vetoed two bills that hurt educators and undermine public education.
He also signed five bills that put public education first in Kentucky.
“Education is how we provide better lives for all Kentuckians. It is how we build up a highly skilled workforce so we can quit chasing the jobs of the past and attract the investments and companies that are creating the well-paying jobs of the future,” said Gov. Beshear.
The Governor vetoed two bills that harm public education:
“These measures represent a direct attack that would significantly weaken our public education system in Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear.
House Bill 258
The Governor does not support House Bill 258, because it would cut retirement benefits for new teachers, harming the commonwealth’s ability to attract and retain educators.
This measure comes at the same time the General Assembly has cut more than $70 million the Governor’s proposed budget would provide to help support health insurance benefits for educators’ families. The General Assembly also cut raises for school employees that were included in the Governor’s budget.
House Bill 563
The Governor does not support House Bill 563 (HB 563), which would greatly harm public education in Kentucky by taking money away from public schools and sending it to unaccountable private organizations with little oversight. HB 563 would also drain as much as $25 million from public education.
This measure would establish private educational institutions that would decide how to spend public money and could use up to 10% of these public funds on their own employee salaries, benefits and expenses.
“This measure is a handout to wealthy donors. They would receive tax benefits even larger than charitable donation deductions and could even profit by transferring securities to the private educational institutions to avoid capital gains taxes,” said Gov. Beshear. “HB 563 would lead to the same kinds of funding disparities that the Kentucky Supreme Court held was unconstitutional in Rose v. Council for Better Education in 1989.
The Governor signed the following bills today that protect Kentucky students’ health and secure more pathways for them to pursue their goals:
House Bill 158
House Bill 158 (HB 158) invests in Kentucky students by supporting the state’s only four-year aviation professional pilot degree program. It increases cooperation between the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) and local air board, giving students more opportunities to learn.
Senate Bill 101
Senate Bill 101 will make career and technical education more responsive to stakeholders, with the enhanced ability to work with local industry to produce the kind of workers their community needs.
“Many local school districts and their communities want the flexibility that comes with managing their own career and technical education centers — but they are deterred by the potential funding loss,” said Gov. Beshear. “This legislation ensures a reliable funding stream for those districts that choose to convert their state-operated center to local control.”
Senate Bill 127
Having a rescue inhaler on site for students suffering from an asthma attack can mean the difference between life and death. Senate Bill 127 encourages schools to keep at least two rescue inhalers on hand.
Senate Bill 128
The Supplemental School Year Program outlined in Senate Bill 128 will allow students the chance to enjoy the same high school experience they expected a year ago.
“The past year has been uniquely challenging, and while educators have done their best in these trying circumstances, the pandemic has deprived some students of priceless opportunities and memories,” said Gov. Beshear. “School districts who choose this Supplemental School Year option for their students also will have access to federal funds to remedy learning loss in creative ways and to help all students get back on track academically.”
Senate Bill 135
The Governor supports Senate Bill 135 (SB 135), which provides common-sense updates to ensure that state funding for higher education is distributed to campuses on a more sustainable basis.
It also supports efforts by colleges and universities to enroll and graduate more Kentuckians with a certificate or degree by 2030.