House Education Chair gives update on charter schools progress

After many years of work, legislation allowing charter schools in Kentucky finally passed during the 2017 session. But what comes next? House Education Chair Bam Carney, the bill’s sponsor, says there is already interest being expressed to open charter schools and we could see the first ones open as early as 2018.

In terms of where the state stands on getting charter schools after the passage of House Bill 520, Carney said the Department of Education is currently working on the regulations for the implementation of charter school legislation, which he said will likely take five to six months to put in place, and noted the governor’s recent executive order appointing a charter schools advisory council.

There have been inquiries from groups looking at opening charter schools in Louisville/Jefferson County and Lexington/Fayette County since the legislation passed, Carney told The Bottom Line.

“I think some groups early next year, probably in the fall, will start putting together materials and applications. Again, it is going to be very extensive. This is not a two and three page application to open up a charter school,” Carney said. “I think the earliest you would see a potential structure open would be the following spring, which would be 2018 school year.”

Because Kentucky was the 44th state to pass some form of charter school legislation, Carney said the state may be better positioned to receive some of the federal funding set aside for states with charter schools because of the passage was so recent and he added the state will “make a run at” those federal dollars. (Carney discusses how federal funds could be received and used at 2:00 in the video.)

When asked if he expects a legal challenge to House Bill 520, as new state laws like right to work are currently seeing, Carney said he expects there probably will be a lawsuit but he is confident the law is constitutional.

“I’ve talked to several attorneys who have been involved national with different groups and they feel quite confident that we have a case that would win in court. And maybe that’s why we haven’t had a challenge yet,” Carney said.

Watch the interview segment with House Education Chair Carney below:

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Jacqueline Pitts
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