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Kentucky Board of Education approves charter regulations

KY Dept of Ed

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 4, 2017) – Public charter schools in Kentucky have moved one step closer to reality.

House Bill 520 cleared the way for the first charter schools in the state and during its regular October meeting today, the Kentucky Board of Education approved four regulations, one as amended, governing the establishment and operation of public charter schools. The regulations address student application, lottery and enrollment; the evaluation of charter school authorizers; the process for a charter school’s appeal of an authorizer’s decision; and conversion charter school petition, conversion and operation.

Under 701 KAR 8:010, a uniform online student application will be used. Students would be waitlisted in the order their application is received. The regulation prohibits discrimination in charter enrollment and allows a student to enroll after the beginning of the school year as long as the school has room for the student.

Under the law, every local board of education, a collaborative of local school boards, and the mayors of Lexington and Louisville may review applications and authorize charter schools. The regulation outlining the process for the evaluation of charter school authorizers, 701 KAR 8:020, defines training and performance requirements related to charter contracts, financial solvency, reporting, closure and the duties of the charter board of directors. The regulation also clarifies the prohibition on authorizers from approving a charter from a for-profit organization or one that is organized for religious purposes. The KBE amended the regulation to modify the Charter School Application. Also, a performance framework and model contract between the charter and authorizer is included by reference for guidance.

701 KAR 8:030 establishes the procedural requirements for a charter school’s appeal of an authorizer’s decision to revoke or non-renew a charter. A charter applicant may appeal a decision to the Kentucky Board of Education.

The final regulation, 701 KAR 8:040 establishes the process to be used to convert an existing public school to a charter school. Virtual charter schools are not allowed under the statute.

“I think the regulations and the application create a framework and an extraordinarily comprehensive system of information, monitoring and oversight that make it a win-win for all parties – for applicants and for authorizers – to carry out the work on charter schools with the best capacity to do so,” board member Gary Houchens said.

The charter regulations now move through the regulatory process with a public comment period November 1-30 and a public hearing on the regulations scheduled for Nov. 21. It is anticipated that the first charter school could open in Kentucky as early as fall 2018.