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Senate committee rejects charter schools proposal

January 13, 2010 | | Comments 7
State Sen. Jack Westwood, R-Crescent Springs

State Sen. Jack Westwood, R-Crescent Springs

Track the progress of key legislation on Kentucky.com’s new legislature page.

By Jim Warren – jwarren@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — An amendment to allow charter schools in Kentucky failed Wednesday afternoon when the Senate Education Committee deadlocked on the issue.

Sen. Jack Westwood, R-Crescent Springs, offered the proposal as an amendment to House Bill 176, which creates a number of options for turning around low-performing schools in Kentucky. Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington, cast the deciding vote against her Republican colleague’s amendment.

The full Senate unanimously approved the bill without charter schools later Wednesday, clearing the way for it to become part of Kentucky’s application for more than $200 million from the federal Race to the Top program. The application must be filed by Friday.

Westwood argued that adding charter schools would strengthen the state’s application and help bring more federal dollars. Charter schools could receive state money but would be exempted from many of the regulations that apply to other public schools.

Under Westwood’s amendment, only persistently low-performing schools could be converted into charter schools. The amendment would not allow the creation of new charter schools.

Democratic opponents of charter schools noted that 174 school districts have signed off on the current version of HB 176 and that dramatically altering the bill could jeopardize that agreement.

The bill, which was approved by the House Monday on a 96-0 vote, provides several options to improve low-performing schools, including putting them under the management of a for-profit or non-profit organization approved by the state.

Filed Under: EducationKY General AssemblyState Government

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  1. Matt says:

    20 years behind the times as always. Hopefully we’ll get called out for our lack of charter school options in our application.

  2. Matt says:

    I’ve been reading a little about charter schools. Something like this is what we’re missing out on:

    http://www.asdnh.org

    ASD is an open-enrollment chartered public school for grades 7 through 12 specializing in science, mathematics, engineering and design. Algebra, biology, chemistry, and physics are taught beginning in the 7th grade. It is tuition-free for New Hampshire students.

    ASD is chartered to offer seven areas of specialization.

    1. Architecture and Engineering
    2. Chemistry and Bio-medicine
    3. Space, Astronomy and Astronautics
    4. Computer Science, System Design and Simulation
    5. Environment and Global Sustainability
    6. Mathematics and Physics
    7. Aeronautics and Aviation

  3. bibby says:

    whaaaa!?!?!

  4. bibby says:

    Yes, Matt. It is hard to fathom that KY won’t accept charter schools. We should embrace what is working elsewhaere and give it a chance.

    Bipps.org (Jim Waters) has put out some good pieces on the subject.

  5. Craig Dumbo says:

    Kerr voted against charter schools?

  6. citizen says:

    KY. will only adopt issues that have failed elsewhere when it comes to the cash cow of education.

  7. KateT says:

    So if KY does not get any “Race to the Top”
    money-can we talk about Charter Schools or will it be easier to just keep students in low performing schools and continue to do nothing.

    Charters give parents a choice and a chance to remove their child from afailing school. What is so unreasonable about that???