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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Jefferson County Public Schools will open a 60-day application window for prospective charter school operators on April 16 despite financial uncertainty for charter schools once the current fiscal year ends.

The 60-day period will close for those hoping to open charter schools in the 2019-20 school year will end June 15, and the request for proposals will include scoring parameters for applicants, according to a JCPS news release Wednesday. JCPS said applicants should reach out to the district for technical assistance if necessary.

The district’s push forward on charter schools comes amid funding questions for charter schools, which were enacted in Kentucky during last year’s legislative session. The General Assembly inserted language in the current budget that allowed charter schools to receive the same per-pupil funding as traditional public schools, but that will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

“Charter school legislation was passed during the 2017 legislative session,” Cassie Blausey, JCPS director of school choice, said in a statement. “As a result, all local school boards are automatically charter school authorizers and required to comply with the legislation.”

The district encouraged those interested in applying to open a charter school to contact Blausey at or (502) 485-3138. 

Acting JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio noted the district's and the Jefferson County Board of Education's work in implementing charter school guidelines in recent months. The school board and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's office are the only entities that can authorize charter school applicants under state law.

"We want to make sure we fulfill our responsibility," he said Wednesday. "I would say that we've done more than any other district when it comes to preparing for our role as an authorizer, and we're always going to be that way."

Some lawmakers, including House Education Committee Chairman John “Bam” Carney, have said they will not support funding for charter schools in this year’s legislative session if the upcoming budget cuts public education dollars.

The House’s version of the budget restored many of the cuts proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin, and Carney told WDRB News last week that it will be up to the Senate to create a plan to fund charter schools.

Senate President Robert Stivers said he believes the upper chamber is prepared to handle that task.

Reach reporter Kevin Wheatley at 502-585-0838 and Follow him on Twitter @KevinWheatleyKY.

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