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Senate Passes Charter Schools Bill, But Fate In House Remains Doubtful

Kentucky LRC

A bill that would allow persistently low-achieving public schools to convert to privately-run charter schools has cleared the Kentucky Senate.

The measure passed the Republican-led chamber by a 22-14 party line vote. It would allow certified teaching staff and parents to petition the school’s principal to hold a vote on whether a privately run charter organization should be in charge of the school.

Sen. Mike Wilson, a Republican from Bowling Green, sponsored the bill.

“It’s only allowed in conversions for these low-achieving schools, and schools do remain accountable to the local board, who is, that who is the contract is with, and it’s only for a period of five years,” said Wilson.

Wilson filed similar legislation last year, only for it die in the Democratic-controlled House.

Sen. Gerald Neal, a Democrat from Louisville, spoke against the bill on the Senate floor. He took issue with the notion that charter schools are a cure-all for education.

“Disband the name ‘charter school’ because it’s deceptive and a political statement in and of itself, and it’s being used as such, and let’s have a serious discussion about how to advance our children in our schools to be all that they can possibly be, and contribute all that they can contribute to their lives and to the life of the Commonwealth,”  said Neal.

The bill now heads to the House, where it will likely meet the same fate as it did last year.