Uncertainty follows passage of charter schools bill - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Uncertainty follows passage of charter schools bill

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Charters schools can begin as early as this fall under a bill passed by the Kentucky General Assembly late Wednesday night.

But right now, no one can say for sure how or where the first charter schools will open their doors.

Pastor Jerry Stephenson runs at after-school program for at risk JCPS students.

He has been a strong advocate for charter schools, and helped pass the new law.

“I am more than happy. I'm bubbling over,” Stephenson told WDRB News.

But now, Stephenson says, the hard work begins of creating high performing charter schools.

"Our goal is that we don't allow no junk to come into our community," he said.

But there is not much time. Charter schools can begin as early as this fall.

“We've had the bill for less than 24 hours, and we're trying to look at it and see where we go from here,” said Chris Brady, chair of the Jefferson Co. School Board.

Brady opposed charter schools, and says the district has not even begun setting up a system to review and authorize charter applications.

"There are so many unknowns and so much vagueness within the bill that, at this point, it's really kind of hard to determine what the impact is going to be," he said.

The bill also makes Louisville's mayor a charter authorizer. At this point, Mayor Greg Fischer says he has only a vague idea of what he wants to see.

“We'll be focusing on areas that have low income areas. I'm interested in out-of-school time, mentoring, tutoring activities. We'll just see. This is all very new.”

Stephenson says he has no interest in starting a charter school, but wants to help bring everyone together, including those who opposed him.

“We need to meet and talk about what are the next steps. We don't need to be fighting. That's the one thing that we can't do. The children do not need us to be fighting.”

The charter schools bill is on Governor Matt Bevin's desk, and he's expected to sign.

But the governor’s office did not respond when asked when that might happen.

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