Charter schools bill clears Kentucky House and Senate

Charter schools bill headed for Bevin's desk

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) -- With a stroke of the pen, Governor Bevin can now OK the formation of charter schools since the House passed the plan for a second time after changes by the Senate that only passed after more than 4 hours of debate.

The House debate matched the passion in the Senate with divisions down party lines over a plan that could impact families across Kentucky.

“We can no longer teach to the middle. Too many folks are being left behind,” Rep. Bam Carney (R) said.

That debate by the bill’s Republican House Sponsor did not change the votes of Democrats opposing the plan that set up how to structure of charter schools.

Changes to the bill by the Senate require state certified teachers in charter school classrooms, allow mayors to authorize a charter, and creates a lottery to decide which students get to attend.

Some opponents questioned from where the money was going to come.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re about ready to authorize a blank check. We don’t know how we’re paying for this,” Rep. Joni Jenkins (D) said.

“So if you support this bill it doesn’t mean that you don’t care about public schools or public school teachers, it means you care about the kids,” Rep. Jim DeCesare (R) said.

Supporters insisted the plan would close the achievement gap between white and African American students and make public schools stronger through competition.

The plan passed 53-43 and will head to Gov. Bevin’s desk, but with some Democrats are debating whether the charter schools bill is constitutional. The question arises--will anyone sue to stop them?

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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