Charter schools bill passes Kentucky House

Published: Mar. 3, 2017 at 3:50 PM CST
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The Kentucky House passes a charter school bill.

House Bill 520 passed the House by a vote of 56-39 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The bill allows local school boards and the mayors of Louisville and Lexington to authorize and oversee public charter schools beginning with the 2017-2018 school year.

According to the bill: The charter schools would be public schools, established by contract and governed by independent boards, that would offer nonsectarian educational programs that “meet or exceed student performance standards adopted by the Kentucky Board of Education.”

Enrollment in the schools would be voluntary and the schools would not have entrance requirements or charge tuition or fees, other than those fees that are allowed at public schools.

Concerns with the bill were raised by several lawmakers on the House floor including Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort. Graham said the state’s public schools have been improving, citing rankings that show Kentucky as a national leader in K-12 public education with at least 69 percent of its students classified as college-and career-ready.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Kentucky is one of seven states that do not already allow public charter schools.