Kentucky legislators have succeeded in passing a charter school bill. Rep. John “Bam” Carney, R-Campbellsville, is the sponsor of HB 250. The bill has passed through the House and will have to be approved by the Senate. Kentucky has gone years without charter schools, but after the 2016 election, Republicans took over the majority of both the Senate and the House, and the governorship, and have pushed forward the bill since then. If it passes through the Senate, Kentucky will become the 44th state to implement public charter schools in the nation.
Governor Matt Bevin explains,
“In all the states that this has been implemented, the public education system has never been made worse… never. And in fact it has heightened everyone’s game and children are better for it.”
Supporters of the bill explain that this will broaden school choice for parents and their children, and since Kentucky is one of the last states to implement charter schools, supporters claim that the state can learn from other states’ implementation successes and mistakes. Opponents of the bill believe that the creation of charter schools will redirect funds for public schools to the newly created schools. Kentucky Democrats expressed shock at how fast the bill has gone through with minimum guidelines for implementation. The current legislation does not provide a maximum number of charter schools or how the charter schools will be funded. Mayors and school boards can become charter authorizers under HB 250.
“And while the bill says that parents, community members, public organizations, school administrators, and nonprofits can apply to operate a charter school, there is nothing in the legislation that prevents charter school operators from contracting out all of their management and operations to a for-profit entity.”
Opponents express a strong concern that charter schools could be run by businesses.
According to WDRB, the Senate Education Committee added language saying charter school teachers must be a qualified teacher and that students will not be able to go to a charter school across county lines unless a regional charter is created.