KSVT Co-Launches Campaign to Defeat School Voucher Amendment 2

Protect Our Schools KY, a coalition of public education advocates and allied organizations committed to defeating the voucher amendment #2, held a press conference today at East Perry Elementary in Hazard, KY to launch its campaign.

Media Contact: Kelsey Coots, Communications Consultant, kelsey@bluedotconsulting.us, (270) 929-5289

HAZARD, KY – Today, at East Perry Elementary School in Hazard, a bi-partisan coalition of community leaders launched the Protect Our Schools KY campaign to defeat voucher amendment 2 and protect Kentucky’s public schools across the Commonwealth.

In the 2024 Regular Session, the Kentucky legislature passed HB 2 to put a measure on this fall’s ballot. Amendment 2 would allow for public funds to be allocated outside “the system of common schools” (public schools), and instead, allow them to be funneled to unaccountable, private schools.

Speakers at today's press conference featured Kentuckians close to our public education system including a Superintendent, teacher, parent, administrator, and a student. A few excerpts from their remarks are below.

Perry County Public Schools Superintendent Kent Campbell spoke out against how this would siphon public, taxpayer dollars from the masses to a privileged, select few students.

“Amendment 2, or the Voucher Amendment as I like to call it, paves the way for our state to begin writing blank checks to private schools using dollars that should go to public schools and our students. This voucher amendment would siphon money away from our public districts and starve students of critical resources they need to receive the strongest education possible and help us set them up for lifetime of success.”

Perry County Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Jody Maggard–who also described himself as a husband, father and pastor–spoke to how their schools served as the hub of their community during the 2022 floods.

“Our public schools are here to serve a high quality education to every single student who steps foot inside our buildings, regardless of circumstance. And they do that. But our schools and public education communities serve as much more than just educational institutions. Our public schools serve as the heartbeat of our communities. During the flood relief effort, we here in Perry County – and I know in other areas throughout our region – took that literally. From providing a high quality education to every student that walks in the doors, to being a lifeline to kids who may need more support throughout the year, to many times providing the most basic needs for our community when they need it most, our public schools and public education serve a vital purpose for our commonwealth. And they bring us together. Vouchers and Amendment 2, are a direct threat to our public schools and our beloved communities.”

Knott County Public Schools recent graduate Sawyer Noe urged students and young people to join the effort to protect our public schools.

“Today, I issue a call for students who, like me, were raised in public schools and so positively influenced by our teachers to join this effort. Together, we will defeat the Voucher Amendment, protect our schools and help forge a better future for all students in Kentucky."

Public school parent Katie Combs described how her public school community raised her when she was younger and illustrated her concerns about the Voucher Amendment and the repercussions it will have on recruiting and retaining quality teachers.

“I am here today because, as a parent, I am concerned about what vouchers will do to further exacerbate the teacher shortage. I am concerned about how vouchers will negatively impact our schools. The teacher shortage is real – yes, here in Perry County, but also across the Commonwealth. It is difficult to attract and retain teachers as is, and if vouchers begin to divert money from public schools to go to private schools, our budgets are going to get even tighter, and cuts are going to have to be made. How will that effect how we’re able to recruit teachers then? Our students deserve the best and brightest educators the Commonwealth has to offer. But to keep them, our schools have to have the resources needed for them to do their jobs effectively.”

Perry County Public Schools Instructional Coach Tiffany Combs told a powerful story about the impact public education had on her upbringing, providing basic needs like food and clothing when her family needed extra support.

“I was the student that came to school for my basic needs to be met. My dad had a third-grade education and was illiterate. My mom dropped out of high school when she was 16 because she was pregnant with my older sister. When I was four, my dad started his life-long struggle with opioids which left my mom without a high school degree, a career, and to raise four children under the age of 9 on her own. To say we struggled would be an understatement. There were many times that my Christmas presents would come from the school, school administrators would send extra food home with me, or teachers would make sure I had extra clothes. When I had a need that needed to be met public schools stepped up. Schools and educators are already asked to do more with less every year. If the voucher amendment passes, vouchers will make that problem even worse. When I’m in the classroom and have kids looking back at me – kids who deal with similar issues that I dealt with growing up – they’re relying on ME, and THIS DISTRICT to be a safe place, just like it was for me. If Amendment 2 - the voucher amendment - passes, will our public schools have what they need to be able to meet the needs of our students?"
Get Involved

The campaign will continue through the summer on a statewide tour with 7 stops, starting in Paducah on Tuesday, May 28. We are calling on Kentuckians across the Commonwealth to support our common sense campaign to support the backbone of our democracy: public education. To sign our pledge, make a donation or join an upcoming regional event, visit the campaign website at ProtectOurSchoolsKY.com.

About Protect Our Schools KY

Protect Our Schools KY is a coalition of public education advocates and allied organizations, committed to defeating Amendment 2, the Voucher Amendment, on the November 2024 General Election ballot that would allow for public funds to be allocated outside “the system of common schools” (public schools), and instead, funnel them to unaccountable, private schools. The growing coalition is led by the Council for Better Education, Jefferson County Teachers' Association, Kentucky Education Association, Fairness, the Kentucky Student Voice Team, and the Kentucky Parent Teacher Association. Learn more at ProtectOurSchoolsKY.com and follow on social media at @ProtectOurSchoolsKY.

About the Kentucky Student Voice Team

The Kentucky Student Voice Team (KSVT) is an independent, statewide, 501(c)(3) organization co-founded in 2012 by a group of Kentucky high school students. As a collective of young people, KSVT is on a mission to co-create more just, democratic Kentucky schools and communities as education research, policy and storytelling partners. Follow the organization on social media at @kystuvoiceteam.

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