Tax credit programs are a viable school choice option in Kentucky. The restrictive language of Kentucky’s constitution with respect to education funding and the more restrictive interpretation of Kentucky’s state Religion Clauses make instituting a general voucher program difficult, if not impossible.
*The education funding provision, Section 184, appears to foreclose a general voucher option because it requires that all funds raised for educational purposes be spent on public schools, unless the voters approve the expenditure by referendum. Butler v. United Cerebral Palsy, however, may create a limited exception for programs directed to special education students. The funding for such a program should explicitly come from a source other than the “common school fund,” and the money should be allotted to parents rather than schools. Most importantly, the program’s purpose should be couched in language other than “education,” such as child “safety” (the language of Neal v. Fiscal Court, Jefferson County) and child “welfare” (the language of Butler).
Model Legislation: Education Savings Account, Special Needs Scholarship Program, Autism Scholarship, Great Schools Tax Credit Program, Family Education Tax Credit Program