The Bottom Line: House Education Chair files charter schools bill

By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line

Legislation to bring more educational opportunities to Kentucky through the creation of charter schools was filed by House Education Committee Chair John “Bam” Carney on Friday.

House Bill 520, the new charter school legislation, would allow for public charter schools approved by the state to open in the 2018-2019 school year.

After filing the legislation Friday, Rep. Carney sat down with The Bottom Line to talk exclusively about the bill and what it means for Kentucky.

“These schools are public schools for our children to get the best education that they possibly could receive. One that they feel like they may not be able to get in a traditional school. This is not going to be for every student. But if we can reach just 5,000 students this way, that’s 5,000 lives that are changed forever. And that’s worth it for me,” Carney said in the exclusive interview.

Under this bill, charter schools would be allowed to open in any area of the state if they are approved. Local school boards will have the ability to review applications to open a charter school and the bill also sets up an appeals process for applications that goes to the Kentucky State Board of Education.

The public charter schools will be open to all students in the area with preference given to students residing in the district, 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 there are available slots, the bill sets up a process for a random lottery to decide enrollment.

For more state government news go to the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s The Bottom Line blog.

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