TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has weighed in on a controversial school choice bill moving through the legislature.
The bill would create the state’s first Education Savings Account, which has received a mixed response from some Republicans.
In an interview Monday, Kelly said she’s against school “vouchers.”
“I have never been a proponent of vouchers. I believe that public moneys ought to be spent on public schools,” Kelly said.
Republicans also appear to be split on the issue. House Substitute for Senate Bill 83 passed 64-61 last week.
According to the proposal, parents could use the Education Savings Accounts for private school tuition, school supplies and tutoring. Democrats argue the bill diverts money away from public schools. However, during a floor debate, some Republicans called public schools a “monopoly.”
“You can choose where you get your haircut, or you can choose to go to higher education anywhere, but the K-12 you don’t. And, where there is a monopoly of money, there is required accountability,” said Rep. Kristey Williams, R-Augusta, who carried the bill in the House.
The bill also includes money to meet funding requirements for special education and teacher pay raises. These are two big ticket items for Democrats, but they’re not budging.
“We’re a rural state, so our public schools are often the hub of the community… and anything to undermine them would be undermining the entire fabric and structure of Kansas,” Kelly said.
Kelly has not explicitly said whether she’ll veto the bill.
The proposal is moving to a conference committee with members of both the House and Senate. Lawmakers will have to reach an agreement before the bill moves forward.