By Andrew Pillow
It looks as if Indiana’s southern neighbor could be close to finally allowing charter schools. Right now Kentucky is one of just seven states that do not formally allow charter schools. However, following the recent election, that may be about to change.
Kentucky once again has charter friendly republicans in charge, and now, they seemingly have the political capital to finally make headway. A fact that isn’t lost on the Kentucky Board of Education. Thus, the Kentucky Board of Education has proposed suggestions for guidelines around charter schools should legislation for the initiative gain anymore steam.
- Local boards of education should be the authorizers of charter schools. The KBE recognizes that authorizers are the driver of quality and the quality is most important for students. If multiple authorizers are allowed, the number of authorizers should be capped and limited to nonsectarian; nonprofit organizations; local governments and universities. The Kentucky Board of Education should be the final arbiter for approving conflicts and in providing oversight of the state charter initiative.
- Charter school applicants and providers must be nonprofit, nonsectarian and cannot be wholly or partially governed by a group that is a religious denomination or affiliation.
- Authorizers should focus on approving applications that target at-risk and/or under-served populations of students while also demonstrating the capability and competence of the applicant to execute its vision.
- A charter school application must demonstrate support from local parents and the community. If an applicant is rejected, an appeal process should be handled by the Kentucky Board of Education.
- Conversion charters should be restricted to low-performing schools.
- Kentucky certification is to be required for teachers in charter schools.
- A charter school should be available to any parent/guardian in the district, or in a defined region for a regional charter school, who wishes to enroll their child. Students cannot be excluded due to a disability or any other characteristic. If the number of students exceed space, a free and fair lottery should be held to determine enrollment.
- Charter schools should be held to the same assessment and accountability standards as other public schools as well as the academic progress goals set forth in the charter contract with the authorizer.
- Charter schools should receive an exemption from state and local laws/regulations excluding regulations regarding accountability, health, safety, civil rights, employee background checks, open meetings, Freedom of Information Act requests and accounting practices.
- Charter schools should be required to provide special education evaluation and services just like other public schools.
- There should be fair and equitable funding for all schools and funding for charter schools should not detrimentally impact the funding provided to other public schools in a district. Charter schools should have access to capital funding and public facilities.
- Charter schools should have access to transportation funding. The state also should incentivize collaboration between districts and charters to promote the safe and efficient transportation of students.
Read more here. (KY Forward)