Bevin lends his support to latest charter school bill

Gov. Matt Bevin.
Gov. Matt Bevin. File photo

Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday voiced his support for a bill that would allow public charter schools to open in Kentucky in the 2018-19 school year.

HB 520, sponsored by Kentucky House Education Committee Chairman John Carney, would allow only local school boards to review and approve public charter applications. Denials could be appealed to the Kentucky Board of Education. Carney’s legislation is the third charter school bill introduced in the 2017 General Assembly.

A school board could approve and oversee — the word used in the legislation is “authorize” — an unlimited number of public charter schools within the boundary of the local school district.

In public charter schools, an organizer would enter into a performance-based contract, or charter, with an oversight board or entity that spells out the school’s governance, funding, accountability and flexibility.

Bevin appeared at a news conference with Carney and Education and Workforce Development Secretary Hal Heiner. Bevin said if it were up to him, he would like the bill to be more of an open-ended opportunity for charter schools. But he said that the bill represented a consensus and would give families an alternative choice.

“There is something in there for just about everybody,” Bevin said.

He said charter schools would come to life in urban areas. “That’s where the need is. That’s where the failing schools are,” he said.

Bevin said he didn’t think the number of charter schools should be capped. If it works, “lets get as many as we can,” he said.

Carney said he thought that there might be three to five in the first year in strategic areas. For profit and non-profit organizations could apply to open charter schools. The bill would allow charter schools beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears