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Kentucky Charter Schools Bill Headed To Governor’s Desk

The state legislature approved a statewide charter schools bill after a marathon day of voting on Wednesday. The legislation heads to the desk of Gov. Matt Bevin, who supports the measure.

After weeks of inaction, the legislation emerged in a legislative committee Wednesday, passed out of the Senate in the afternoon and the House in the evening.

Sen. Dan Seum, a Republican from Louisville, voted in favor of the bill, saying that charters will push public schools to get better at educating students.

“When you’re the only game in town you don’t really have to perform too well," Seum said. "But when that competition shows up you’ve gotta do better or you lose.”

House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins objected to the quick pace of the debate.

“For something that is this major, for the public policy of the commonwealth of Kentucky, I think that’s bad business," Adkins said. "And I don’t think that’s the way we we’ve done it on other major reform that has been successful here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Under the bill, charter schools would be exempted from many state regulations, which supporters say will allow for innovation and better education of students.

The schools would be funded in the same manner as public schools with some exceptions. Charters will not receive funds raised from local property taxes or funds for facilities.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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