Kentucky Education Commissioner says charter schools likely won' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Education Commissioner says charter schools likely won't open until 2018-19 school year

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Kentucky Charter Schools bill has been passed and signed by the governor, but many are questioning when charter schools could actually open their doors in the state.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Dr. Stephen Pruitt says the state has a long and tedious process ahead of it to develop regulations for the new schools.

“Nothing in government goes fast," he said. "Glacial is the best way to say that government works."

Pruitt was at the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville on Wednesday for a town hall talking about school accountability. He says the big hurdle now is creating regulations on how charter schools will be identified and approved because charter schools are public schools that are allowed to operate outside normal rules and regulations.

“So it's going to take us a few months to develop that first,” he said.

Then comes the actual regulatory process that could take several months. Charter school applications will likely be accepted during the 2017-18 school year.

“It will go to the local school board first," Pruitt said. "They have the right to approve or reject. The application then comes to us if it's rejected and the state board will make  a judgement on if the local school board should reconsider it or not."

Only the mayors of Louisville and Lexington will be involved in the approval process. Pruitt says he had a positive experience working with charter schools at his previous job in Georgia. However, Jefferson County Teacher's Association President Brent McKim has major concerns, including how education could suffer because of funding issues.

“We're certainly concerned it will divert funding from our public schools that are already underfunded and send it potentially to for-profit vendors,” McKim said.

“Are there ways we're going to have to think about funding differently? Yeah," Pruitt said. "But there's also going to be other opportunities for federal funding."

Pruitt says a charter school likely won't open until the 2018-19 school year.

“We're going to develop (regulations) that are right for Kentucky,” Pruitt said. “But everybody just needs to know it's gonna take a little time.”

Related Stories: 

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signs charter schools bill

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