By Andrew Pillow
Kentucky has taken the first steps to opening charter schools. Gov. Matt Bevin signed the charter school law last march. This law would allow for the creation of publicly funded, independently ran schools. Kentucky is one of the last states not to already offer this option. 44 states and Washington, D.C. already have charter schools.
Different legislators and groups are still working out the details and the regulations behind the law. No charter schools have been opened as of yet, and if a small group of representative has their say… it will stay that way.
Several Democratic representatives have filed a bill to repeal the 2017 charter school law Gov. Bevin signed in its entirety.
Rep. Attica Scott believes the original bill in question shouldn’t have made it this far. “It was a bad bill and it should not have passed,” said Scott.
The Courier-Journal summarizes the local concerns:
Under the budget proposal released by Bevin this week, K-12 per-pupil funding would remain at its current level, but local school districts would have to pay a greater share of transportation and health insurance costs. Districts would also be forced to reduce their administrative costs over the next two fiscal years.
Scott said that the state should not be diverting resources to charter schools at a time when districts are already under financial stress. Instead, communities should work to improve the public schools they already have, she said.
These concerns mirror the typical talking points of school choice opponents around the country. This argument, in some states, has paralyzed the conversation. That will likely not be the case here. The bill filed to repeal the 2017 law is highly unlikely to go anywhere as Republicans, who typically support school choice, control both chambers in the legislature and the governor’s office. The bill amounts to little more than a symbolic protest.
Given the fact charter schools are coming no matter what, Kentucky opponents to school choice would probably be better off working with lawmakers to come up with regulations and practices that reflect the landscape they want to see.
Read more about the Kentucky charter school bill and opposition here. (Courier-Journal)
See the full bill here.