Kentucky’s first charter school director resigns after less than a year. Here’s why.

Source: Valarie Honeycutt Spears, Lexington Herald-Leader, May 9, 2018

Less than a year after he was hired as the first director of the Kentucky Department of Education’s charter school division, Earl Simms said he is resigning May 25 so that his wife can go back to her previous job in St. Louis. Simms told WDRB-TV in Louisville and the Herald-Leader that he was not leaving because former Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt suddenly resigned in April at a state school board meeting, one day after Gov. Matt Bevin appointed several new board members. The board of all-Bevin appointees that same day hired charter school proponent Wayne D. Lewis Jr. as an interim Commissioner. … Though the charter school movement appears to be stalled, Lewis has said he will work with Kentucky Department of Education officials to determine if there is a path for charter schools that doesn’t require the General Assembly to approve a funding mechanism. …

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A closer look at the future of charter schools in Kentucky
Source: Emilie Arroyo, WKYT, April 18, 2018

The Kentucky Board of Education is taking a new direction after the resignation of education commissioner Dr. Stephen Pruitt and Gov. Matt Bevin’s appointments of new board members this week. Many expect that direction to be a stronger push for charter schools, but Kentucky’s legislature ended its 2018 session with no funding process in place. … While it’s unclear when Kentucky will see it’s first charter school, we do know how it will work. …

Kentucky Lawmakers Approve Charter School Law
Source: Lesli A. Maxwell, Education Week, March 15, 2017

After years of failed attempts, Kentucky lawmakers have approved a charter school law. The measure passed the state Senate on a vote of 23-15 Wednesday afternoon, largely along party lines. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin—an enthusiastic supporter of charters—is expected to sign the measure. The Kentucky House approved the bill—HB 520—last week and will still have to sign off on changes made by the Senate. … Kentucky has been one of the hardest places to pass a charter law, but with the 2016 election, Republicans in the state took control of the legislature and the governorship, clearing the way for a charter bill to succeed. The bill says nothing about how charters in Kentucky will be funded. Under its provisions, there will be no limit on the number of charter schools that can be authorized. … And while the bill says that parents, community members, public organizations, school administrators, and nonprofits can apply to operate a charter school, there is nothing in the legislation that prevents charter school operators from contracting out all of their management and operations to a for-profit entity. …


Charter Schools Bill Could Start Moving Soon in Legislature
Source: Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press February 28, 2017

A charter schools bill remained stuck in committee as Kentucky lawmakers reached the two-thirds mark of their legislative session Tuesday, but the highly anticipated measure backed by Gov. Matt Bevin could start advancing later this week. House Education Committee Chairman John “Bam” Carney said his bill paving the way for public charter schools to open in Kentucky could be heard by his committee on Thursday. … Carney said he’s optimistic about the bill’s chances in the Republican-controlled General Assembly, but acknowledged the bill has drawn “fairly strong” pushback from some in education. … In past years, bills called for charter schools to be introduced as pilot projects. Carney’s bill would open up the opportunity for public charters statewide. … Prospects for charter school legislation improved dramatically when the GOP took control of the House after last year’s elections. In the past, charter schools bills died due to lack of House support when Democrats ran the chamber. The Senate is solidly controlled by Republicans. Under Carney’s bill, public charters could be exempt from some state education regulations but would comply with the same testing, safety, finance and transparency regulations as other public schools, he said. … If Carney’s bill becomes law, Kentucky would become the 44th state nationally to allow public charter schools, according to the Kentucky Charter School Project, an advocacy group.

Calls for Charter Schools in Kentucky Renewed
Source: Mike Pickett, Tristatehomepage.com, February 9, 2017

Kentucky lawmakers are back in Frankfort, and the issue of charter schools is back in the forefront. Governor Matt Bevin is calling for charter schools to become a reality in the Commonwealth. “Charter schools are coming to Kentucky,” Gov. Bevin said during his speech Wednesday night. He renewed the call for the schools in his State Of The Commonwealth address, in one of seven states still without them. … A house bill, HB 103, allowing for charter schools to be established here is the latest effort to bring them to Kentucky. The charter schools get public funding, but are run by groups independent of local school districts. In his address last night, Governor Bevin says the current education system in Kentucky isn’t doing as well as it could be. … The House bill isn’t the only one lawmakers will be considering. A separate bill filed in the senate will allow pilot charter schools in the Louisville and Lexington areas.