Charter schools bill on the way to become law after late night passage

charter final voteUPDATED: The bill to make Kentucky the 44th state to have charter schools saw final passage Wednesday night with a concurrence vote in the House of 53-43.

House Bill 520, sponsored by House Education Chair Bam Carney, would allow for public charter schools to open in the 2018-2019 school year.

Under this bill, charter schools would be allowed to open in any area of the state if approved. Local school boards would serve as the primary authorizer to review applications to open a charter school. The bill also sets up an appeals process that allows for applications to be reviewed by the Kentucky State Board of Education as well as allows the mayors of Louisville and Lexington to serve as authorizers in those cities.

Public charter schools will be open to all students in the area. The bill includes language that would allow preference to be given to those who are eligible for free or reduced priced lunch, and students attending persistently low-achieving schools. If there are more applicants to the school than available slots, the bill sets up a process for a random lottery to decide enrollment. Hear more about the bill in an exclusive interview with Rep. Carney here.

The bill passed through the Senate and Senate Education Committee earlier Wednesday. Read the details of that testimony on The Bottom Line here.

House Bill 520 now heads to the governor’s desk for signature.

A bill containing the funding for the charter school legislation also worked its way through the legislative process Wednesday as House Bill 471 was amended in the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee to contain the language before passing on the Senate floor with a 24-14 vote. The House also passed the measure with a 61-34 vote late Wednesday night.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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