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How did BV-area Kansas Senators vote on a Voucher-style program?

This article was originally posted 2/24/2023 on SUBV Facebook page

Three of 4 BV-area state senators voted 2/23/2023 to expand the voucher program that creates tax giveaways for people who “donate” to a private school scholarship fund, as SB 83 passed the Kansas Senate.

This voucher program is not a simple tax deduction that would be given for donation to a charity; no, in a scheme unlike any other Kansas tax credit, SB 83 fully refunds 75% of money “donated” to the program by a taxpayer - business or individual (previously the refunded amount was 70%). SB 83 greatly expands the numbers of students that can use the program’s funds. AND SB 83 includes a provision that increases the cap on funds that can be “donated” for these private school vouchers.

This is despite NO evidence to show students benefit from the selected private schools. NO requirement for assessments to show that students are getting the education they deserve (and taxpayers are paying for). NO requirement for the private schools benefitting to adhere to any standards such as teacher certification, safety of buildings, staff background checks, or other standards that our public schools provide. Remember, private schools are NOT required to take any student they don’t want, and can use these tax dollars to discriminate.

There’s also no checks and balances as to who is making donations and benefiting from this scheme. Tom owns a private school, he “donates” to this voucher program, gets 75% of the money back as a tax credit, and the program pays for students to attend his schools - OK? Sure!

We know Sen. Kellie Warren, Sen. Molly Baumgardner, and Sen. Rob Olson were aware of their constituents’ opposition to tax money going to private schools, because members have told us they contacted them. We know Sen. Baumgardner was aware of testimony from SUBV opposing SB 83, because she chairs the Senate Education Committee, and we submitted written testimony directly to her committee.

We appreciate Sen. Cindy Holscher’s support of our Johnson County public schools in her votes and her work in the Kansas Senate.

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