This from the Courier-Journal:
Calling it a "historic day," Kentucky's education commissioner on Monday hailed the first meeting of an advisory council that was created to provide recommendations on how charter schools operate in the Bluegrass State.This past legislative session, Kentucky became one of the last few remaining states in the nation to add a charter schools law into the books.And now comes the nitty gritty work of coming up with regulations on exactly how to implement portions of the charter schools law."This is new waters for us in Kentucky. Exciting waters, in my opinion," Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt said Monday.Pruitt told the committee that figuring out regulations for such things as the process for student applications or for how charter schools will be authorized or nonrenewed is the "grinding part" of the process but one that's needed ahead of the opening of any charter school in the commonwealth.
"This is another great opportunity to serve our kids, to give us something else that probably can help a lot of our kids turn a corner because the traditional setting was not doing it for them," Pruitt said.
Kentucky's Charter Schools Advisory Council is meant to provide recommendations to the state Board of Education on a number of things related to charter schools.The nine-member council was created through an executive order by Gov. Matt Bevin, who also appointed the members of the council. Although Bevin's executive order is being challenged by state Attorney General Andy Beshear, the council met for its first meeting Monday.The council spent hours going over regulations related to charter school applications, the evaluation of charter schools and process for closing the ones not working, the procedure for converting a more traditional public school into a charter school and how charter school students would apply and be selected.
The group appeared to like the idea of having a uniform student application for all charter schools.
Council chair Wayne Lewis said having a uniform application will help Kentucky track things like which students are and aren't being admitted and what happens to students who apply and get into a school versus those who don't.The council also had a discussion about the opening of single-gender charter schools and what federal rules there may be for offering something similar for the opposite gender.The charter school law prohibits charter school authorizers — local school boards or the mayors of Louisville and Lexington — from not approving a charter school simply because it is single gender.
But Kevin Brown, associate commissioner at the Kentucky Department of Education, said it's possible that it may be up to authorizers to ensure that similar options are then made available for the other gender, saying that is what he'd heard when he spoke with education officials in Georgia.
Brown added that he has not further explored the federal government's guidance on this subject and will look into this question more.The Kentucky Board of Education is expected to take its first look at the draft charter school regulations — as well as recommendations from the charter schools advisory council and other groups — at its meeting next month.The regulations would have to go through another reading, as well as public comment and other hoops, before being approved. The state expects that the regulations would not go into place until at least January 2018.Only after the regulations go into place would prospective charter schools be allowed to apply to open in the state. And that means, at the earliest, Kentucky will see its first charter school open in the 2018-2019 school year."We’re no longer talking about charters. We’re doing charters," Brown said. "We’re working out the details. We’re down in the weeds. We’re talking about appeals and timelines."