What is Educational Choice?
Generally speaking, educational choice is the process of allowing every family to choose the K-12 educational options that best fit their children. Every child is unique, and all children learn differently. Some children might succeed at their assigned public school, while others might fit in better in a different environment. That’s why educational choice is so important!
Due to the passage of House Bill 563, Kentucky will soon have more educational choices than ever before. Kentucky’s current and recently passed school choice programs are summarized below.
Education Opportunity Accounts
EdChoice Kentucky is focused on Kentucky’s new Education Opportunity Account (“EOA”) program. This program allows privately donated funds to be deposited into an account that can be used to pay for the education that best suits the needs of a particular family’s children This could include anything from career and technical training, books and supplies, virtual school, special needs education, to therapies from an array of public and non-public providers or tutors, and tuition at K-12 non-public schools in counties with a population over 90,000 people. For more information about this program, click here.
Public School Choice
In most cases, students are assigned to their public school based on their home address. In Kentucky, whether a family can choose a school outside of their assigned district often depends on where they live. However, that will soon change with the passage of House Bill 563. Starting in fall of 2022, all Kentucky public school districts will have to adopt policies that allow more families to choose a public school outside of their assigned residential district.
Kentucky families can utilize a 529 Account to save money for educational expenses. These savings accounts grow over time free from state and federal taxes. For many years, this program was focused on college savings; but recently expanded to include K-12 expenses, including the cost of tuition. These programs are beneficial but can be challenging to utilize for lower-income families who may not have the capacity to save. You can learn more about 529 Accounts by clicking here.
Charter schools are public schools created by school districts or other authorized entities that typically operate independent of a traditional public school district. Kentucky passed a law in 2017 that authorized the creation of charter schools. However, the law remains unfunded and therefore no charter schools have opened in the Commonwealth. Learn more about charters here.