HB 384 – Putting Families First13 Feb

David Floyd

Representative David Floyd

Tommy Thompson

Representative Tommy Thompson

House Bill 384 sponsored by Rep. Tommy Thompson (D) and Rep. David Floyd (R) is a unique opportunity to help parents exercise their right to choose the educational environment most appropriate for their children. It will also benefit all elementary and high school students in Kentucky. Without your help, it will receive little attention during this session of the General Assembly.  Please ask your representative to co-sponsor the bill by calling 1.800.372.7181 and leaving a message for him or her.

When passed, individuals and businesses could contribute money to either a 501(c)3 tuition assistance organization or to the Commonwealth School Improvement Fund and receive a tax credit to offset their state tax liability. Tuition assistance organizations would then provide financial assistance to children attending nonpublic schools.  Contributions to the Commonwealth School Improvement Fund would be used to support innovation within the public school system. The legislation caps the tax credits at $50 million allowing for a total of $100 million being available to help students; $70 million would flow to support public education; and the remaining $30 million would be available for tuition assistance for students attending nonpublic schools.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2229) teaches the following:

  • Parents have the right to choose a school for their children which corresponds to their own personal convictions;
  • This right is fundamental; and
  • Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and ensuring concrete conditions for its exercise.

In Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship (#72) our U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have written:

Government, through such means as tax credits and publicly funded scholarships, should help provide resources for parents, especially those of modest means, to exercise this basic right without discrimination.

The passage of HB 384 would help lower and middle income families afford nonpublic school tuition for their children. Thus, this bill provides parents with the opportunity to choose an educational setting that is most appropriate for their children regardless of their income or ZIP code.

The public school system would also benefit from the additional funds generated through contributions to the Commonwealth School Improvement Fund.  Further, studies have shown that states with similar legislation have saved millions of dollars as it relates to public education.  For example; Florida saved approximately $39 million by virtue of its tax credit program.  The savings generated by a tax credit program in Kentucky could be reinvested in the public school system.

Enacting HB 384 promotes the common good by giving all students an opportunity for a better educational experience. Please contact your member of the Kentucky House of Representatives and encourage support for HB 384.

Photo: Kentucky Legislative Research Commission


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9 Responses to “HB 384 – Putting Families First”

  1. Cindy Simpson Reply

    Although this bill is headed in the right direction, it stops short of helping middle class households relieve some of the increasing financial burden of a Catholic education for their children. This group rarely receives financial assistance. This group already contributes to the public school fund via taxation. A truly helpful bill that would be fair to all is one that would allow a tax credit to anyone paying for private school since we are not burdening the public school funds with the cost of educating our children.

  2. Andrew Reply

    Under the bill as proposed, families making under $60,000 per year would be eligible for financial assistance. This amount increase $10,000 for each additional child in the family. A family with two children could make $70,000 and still receive assistance. We ultimately want to help as many families as possible. Kentucky currently has no private school choice laws. This bill will hopefully be a starting point for opening up new educational opportunities for all Kentucky families. We have a great deal of work ahead of us to pass this tax credit. We need parents to contact their legislators and tell them that these types of laws are long overdue.

  3. Andrew Reply

    Thanks for reading our blog and taking an interest in this issue. We really need support from our local communities. There are sadly people who do not want any assistance given to families who choose Catholic schools. Parents need to push back and let their voices be heard.

  4. Cindy Simpson Reply

    I will definitely support and advocate for the bill with the hopes that this is the first step in moving forward toward real assistance helping middle class families provide the education they feel is most appropriate for their children. Thank you to the state representatives for their continued efforts.

  5. John Berns Reply

    Please pass this bill we need educated children, thanks, John Berns

  6. Legislative Update: House Bill 384 | Catholic Conference of Kentucky Reply

    […] General Assembly is winding up its 2015 session, and much remains unfinished.  This includes House Bill 384, a bill which would create a tuition assistance tax credit program.  Many of you responded to a […]

  7. Catholic Schools: A Community Institution | Catholic Conference of Kentucky Reply

    […] Our state legislators can turn the tide of school closures by passing tax credit legislation like House Bill 384.  The bill would ensure that this important institution does not vanish within our urban […]

  8. School Choice is a Bipartisan Issue | Catholic Conference of Kentucky Reply

    […] is also present in Kentucky.  Representatives Tommy Thompson (D) and David Floyd (R) sponsored House Bill 384 during the 2015 session of the General Assembly.  If passed, House Bill 384 would create a tax […]

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