Republican-backed bills would allow charter schools in Louisvill - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Republican-backed bills would allow charter schools in Louisville, Lexington

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A pair of bills that would allow charter schools In Kentucky -- including a pilot program in Jefferson and Fayette counties -- were filed Tuesday by two Republican lawmakers.

Senate Bill 253, introduced by Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, and House Bill 589, filed by Rep. Brad Montell, R-Shelbyville, would authorizie public charter schools, establish a charter school pilot project and identify charter school authorizers. The charter school would be part of the state's education system, but would be exempt from some laws and regulations that are applicable to the Kentucky Board of Education and local school districts.

Wilson, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, filed a similar bill last year and it passed the Senate, but died in the Democrat-controlled house, which have traditionally blocked charter school bills.

?But after some defections and resignations, Democrats have a narrow 50-46 majority in the House, and it could be 50-50 following special elections for four open seats on March 8.

Wilson said Wednesday he wants a charter school system that would benefit low-income students and students in low-performing schools in Jefferson and Fayette counties.

Like the previous bill he filed, there would be a lottery of student applicants, with priority registration of low income students and students attending low performing schools. 

Wilson pointed out three provisions of the bill that are different from in the past:

  • Charter organization must be nonprofit.
  • Although targeted students are low income, they may reside anywhere in the school district where the charter is located.  Not limited to the original 5-mile radius.

  • Funding of charters authorized by the Kentucky Public Charter School Commission has been better articulated in the bill so as to more accurately reconcile with SEEK funding formulas

Gov. Matt Bevin has repeatedly pledged to support charter schools. He also could not be reached for immediate comment on Wednesday.

This story will be updated.

Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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