Budget, Privatization of Public Education

Do You Know These People?

If you happen to know any of these nice people listed below, could you have a talk with them? Could you let them know gently, one-on-one, that by supporting vouchers, and their evil cousin Scholarship Tax Credits, they are, perhaps unknowingly, supporting profiteering efforts that are backed by ALEC, The Koch Brothers, and others who wish to take money away from our already underfunded public schools? Maybe these kind people had good intentions when they clicked on the sign-up button on the Ed Choice KY page, but if they truly understood the myths and facts about education tax credits, and the out-of-state corporations and special interest groups backing scholarship tax credits in our local communities, they would reconsider their support. We’d like to think so.

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The language, “Scholarship Tax Credits,” sounds so innocuous, doesn’t it? But to those of us who have been leading the fight to protect our public schools from these outside threats, we recognize those words as the next steps in the Playbook to Privatize Public Education. Since Kentuckians are beginning to dissect the promise and peril of school vouchers, and are wising up to the fact that school vouchers aren’t working, and that these devices likely violate our state Constitution, lawmakers appear to be planning to bypass this route altogether. Instead, they are going straight for the jugular with scholarship tax loopholes, I mean credits. These credits circumvent tax dollars from going into the state’s general fund by providing a tax credit to individuals who make a donation to a private school, which in turn depletes the amount of money available, not only for public education, but many other public services, as well.

EdChoiceKY’s page says these members “support more educational opportunities for Kentucky students … to ensure that every student gets the best education possible – regardless of their socio-economic status.” Who wouldn’t? That sounds wonderful! However, what these members may not realize is that what really happens is that money is taken away from schools that are also serving students who deserve these same opportunities. And children of low socio-economic statuses often cannot afford the full tuition, books, fees of the private school, and so the scholarship funds meant for the needy generally end up benefiting those who can already afford to attend private school.

We agree that ‘more educational opportunities’ are needed for kids, such as the family resource and youth service centers, extended school services, all-day kindergarten, school nurses, field trips, facility upgrades, transportation, etc. in our public schools, all of which are already underfunded by the state. If the state general fund doesn’t have the financial resources to fully support these educational opportunities and services, then it doesn’t have enough to forego $25-75 MILLION per year, and increasing every year, under a scholarship tax credit, as proposed.

Please ask these folks to reconsider their position. As a teacher, parent, staff member, taxpayer, help them see how this has played out in 43 other states where charter school legislation, vouchers, tax credits, etc. have passed in prior sessions. Look at how Arizona is going broke with similar voucher/tax credit schemes that increase every year and are far more costly than they originally thought they’d be.  Originally estimated to cost that state $4.5 million per year, they eventually topped out at $140 million. Certainly not the “cost savings” snake oil they originally peddled. There is no reason to believe the same would not happen in our Commonwealth. Kentucky wrote the book on education reform. We do not need to follow in anyone’s footsteps. Not Arizona. Not Ohio. Not Indiana. And especially not Michigan (where Secretary of Education, DeVos, hails from).

How will the people below feel when our public schools are further decimated by hedge fund investors and billionaires, and they look back on this pivotal moment and the role they played? Ask them to call EdChoiceKY and have their name removed from their Smarter Future Council web page, because Scholarship Tax Credits are an attack on our public schools. And public schools are the cornerstone of our community and our democracy.

Al Burke- Burke Financial services
Albert Leis – Kentucky One Health
Allen L. Crumes – Money Concepts
Anthony L. Schnell – Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC
Becky Phillips – MCM CPAs and Advisors
Ben Waiz – Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Benjamin C. Fultz – Fultz Maddox Dickenz PLC
Beth Ruehlmann- Diocese of Covington
Beth Silvers – Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
Bill Howard – Fastline Media Group
Bill Roby – USA Cares.org
BJ Ruckriegel – CandyRific
Brian Eviston – Strauss Troy Co., LPA
Charles Bradley – Fifth Third Bank
Charles H. Leis – Brandeis Machinery & Supply Company
Charles J. Kane – 2nd Generation Capital, LLC
Charles Paradis – Bramco, Inc.
Charlotte Lowe- Pattco, LLC
Craig Carlson – US Bank
Craig Jones – Jones Plastic and Engr
Daniel Groneck – U.S. Bank Cincinnati
David Jarboe- Vertical Recruiting
David P. Calzi – Ernst & Young LLP
David P. Heintzman – Stock Yards Bank and Trust Company
Deborah Jo Durr – Richwood Manor, LLC
Donald J. Kelly
Douglas Stough- Assured Partners NL
Edward Bessler
Elizabeth Wiseman – Restaurant Supply Chain Solutions LLC
Greater Louisville Inc.
Heather Huddleston – School Choice Scholarships
James A. Patterson – Pattco, LLC
James U. Smith III – Smith & Smith Attorneys
James Wilson – James E Wilson CPA LLC
Jay Oliver – Humana
Jeff Arnold – Medcare Pharmacy LLC
Jeffrey L. Ashley – Ashley Rountree & Associates
Jennifer Henning- Class Act FCU
Jeremy Lancaster- The Lancford Group, LLC
Jesse Flynn – The Flynn Group
Jim Tencza – Dean Dorton Allen Ford, PLLC
Joesph L. Landenwich – Kindred Healthcare, Inc.
John Hayes – Brown-Forman Corp.
John P. Hollenbach, Sr. – Hollenbach-Oakley, LLC
Jon Votel – K.O.I. Precast Concrete Inc.
Julie Dupont – Dupont plumbing inc
Kathy Oyler
Kathy Potts – Republic Bank
Ken Rechtti
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Kris Knochelmann – Schneller Plumbing Heating & Air, Inc.
Kurt A. Zinser – Prospect Insurance Group
Larry J. Walker – Boca Properties, LLC
M. Kristin Stuedle- Stuedle Spears & Company CPAs
Mark Guilfoyle – DBL Law
Mark Plummer – J & J Transportation, Inc.
Mark Wheeler – Central Bank of Jefferson County
Martin Butler – Strauss Troy, LPA
Michael Brennan- Bramco, Inc.
Mike Ash – Fifth Third Bank
Neil Ramsey – RQSI
Neil Zinser – Strothman & Company, PSC
Patrick Potter – Flexo Wash LLC
Paul F. Smith
Paul M. Grisanti – Grisanti Group CRE, LLC
Paul Sartori- Legacy Financial Advisors
Paul Schulte – Horizon Group International
Paul T. Costel
Paul T. Verst – Verst Group Logistics
Phil McCauley- Madison Group at Morgan Stanley
Phil Stuecker
Phyllis Sparks
Phyllis Yeager – Gateway Community and Technical College
Ralph Drees – Drees Homes, LLC
Raymond Erpenbeck – ECE, Inc.
Rhonda Evsiston – St. Elizabeth Healthcare
Rich Lechleiter – Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville
Roy B. Hill- Dean Dorton Allen Ford RETIRED
Rudy Kreutzjans – Legacy Management
Sean McGuire- Fastline Media Group
Shawn Freibert – Freibert & Mattingly Title Group
Stephen Embry – Frost Brown Todd LLC
Steve B Thompson – Syetling G Thompson Co
Steve Brunson- Pediatric Partners of NKY
Steve Ford – Ingredient Resource Corporation
Steve Gray – Commercial Kentucky, Inc.
Thomas Colvin – Arthur J. Gallagher
Thomas D. Clines III – United Mail LLC
Thomas Perrone – Perrone Wealth Management Group
Tim Rawe
Tink Guthrie – Archdiocese of Louisville
Todd McGee- Comfort Keepers
Tom Partridge – Fifth Third Bank
Tom Wimsett – Wimsett & Company
Vince Tyra – ISCO Industries, Inc
Wayne Hartke – SERVEPRO of Northwest Cincinnati
William Hoskins- Jackson Kelly PLLC
William Ralston – Kentucky Planning Partners
Zach Zinser – Zinser Benefit Service, Inc.

This list was taken directly from EdChoiceKy’s website as of 8/21/17.  Charles H. Leis, President and Andrew Vandiver, Vice-President appeared on KET Tonight with Dear JCPS and SOSKY co-founder, Gay Adelmann, where they discussed Scholarship Tax Credits in more detail, below. Mr. Vandiver is a paid lobbyist for EdChoiceKY. EdChoice Kentucky is housed at he same address as Catholic Conference. 

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