Gov. Matt Bevin signed the hotly debated charter schools bill into law on Tuesday, according to the online legislative record.
Bevin's signature on House Bill 520 comes as no surprise, because the governor made the bill authorizing charter schools in Kentucky his top priority in the latter part of the legislative session, testifying for it before both the House and Senate education committees.
The bill was vigorously debated throughout the legislative session and in its final form ultimately passed the Senate 23-15 and the House 53-43.
It will allow local school districts as well as the mayors of Louisville and Lexington to authorize an unlimited number of charter schools, the first of which are not expected to open until the 2018-19 school year.
Proponents say charter schools will give some parents the choice to send their children to a school that better serves their children's needs and can boost the performance among poor and vulnerable students. But opponents say the new law will take money from underfunded traditional public schools and does not explicitly require charter schools to target underprivileged students.
The General Assembly also passed a bill which would transfer state and federal education funds to cover the costs of students at charter schools. But that bill, House Bill 471, was not yet signed by Bevin, according to the online legislative record as of mid-day Wednesday.
Over at the Prichard Blog!, Susan Weston has been ferreting out the budget for charters and estimates (using 2106-17 numbers) that the average per student allocation would be somewhere around $7,178.
- $4,672 as the average per student from SEEK base and add-ons
- $758 as the average per student from categorical programs
- $1,603 as the average three particular benefits listed below*
- $7,178 as the average per student combining all those sources
- *$1,027 per student for school employee health insurance
- $574 per student for certified employee retirement
- $2 per student for employee life insurance
- $1,603 per student for the three kinds of benefits
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