Charter schools expected to be on fast track in Frankfort - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Charter schools expected to be on fast track in Frankfort

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky is one of just seven states that currently bans charter schools, but that could soon change.

Charter schools are expected to be on the fast track in the Republican-dominated Kentucky legislature, and with a governor who has been pushing for them.

"We'll be back in session at the beginning of February, and that's when hopefully we can answer any additional questions for legislators, make sure everyone's comfortable with getting together and working together to pass a very high quality law," said Joel Adams, the local advocacy director of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Charter schools are public schools with special contracts allowing them to operate outside normal rules and regulations. Forty-three other states have them, and Adams says Kentucky can learn from those states.

"We have a great series of states that have done it right over time," Adams said. "They had to fix a lot of problems over the years. That puts us in a unique position in Kentucky to take from the absolute best and put forth a model of legislation."

Adams wants to see House bill 103 pass quickly, but with the right guidelines.

"This is not the thing you want to come back to if you can avoid it," he said. "We want to do it right the first time."

As a member of the Kentucky Board of Education, Milton Seymore said it is a concern.

"We want a charter build that's a good charter build," Seymore said. "We don't want to pass charters, and it's not a strong charter build."

The JCPS Board of Education is preparing for charter schools and laid out guidelines it would like to see. Seymore is concerned with the education gap leaving behind minority and impoverished students and says charter schools are a solution.

"It gives a parent a choice," Seymore said. "I'm really concerned about parents having to send their child to a failing school. That's what bothers me."

Adams thinks a law supporting charter schools will not be the only thing happening quickly.

"I think this would be fast, but I think we could absolutely see some charter schools by next school year," Adams said.

Adams says it is hard to say how many charter schools could pop up in Kentucky and that the law could have some say in that.

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