Ceremonial signing held in Frankfort for charter schools bill - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ceremonial signing held in Frankfort for charter schools bill

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- While Kentucky is on track to open its first charter schools next year, school districts still have questions about the move.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin officially signed the charter schools bill back in March, but in a ceremonial signing held Tuesday at the Capitol, Bevin again called it a major win for the state's students.

Bevin signed the bill seated at a mock teacher's desk, surrounded by charter supporters. He predicted that school choice will transform education in Kentucky for the better.

"Competition ups people's game," he said. "And I don't care what front it is, including education, it makes a profound difference."

Though Bevin held a ceremonial signing Tuesday, work has been going for months to make charter schools happen. The Education Department should finalize regulations by January.

"As soon as it passed, we immediately started work," said Kentucky Education Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Pruitt. "We didn't want to let any grass grow under our feet, so we got to work. We want to hit the ground running on this."

But for JCPS and other school districts, there are still many unanswered questions, including the potential financial impact on traditional schools.

"Most of those students, the vast majority, will still be Jefferson County Public School students, and we want to make sure that we have the financial capabilities to meet the needs of those students," said JCPS Interim Superintendent, Dr. Marty Pollio.

But charter supporters said the main focus should be on kids who have not been well served by traditional public schools.

"We've got some work to do," said Pastor Jerry Stephenson, who supports charter schools. "But I think it's going to impact the lives of our children and ... the children who are attending the traditional public schools, I think, in the long run, it's going to make that better."

Kentucky will be the 44th state with charter schools. Supporters said they will not duplicate the mistakes of the other 43 states.

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