Public Charter Schools in Kentucky

The Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 520 in March 2017, making Kentucky the 44th state in the nation to allow public charter schools. Since March, the Kentucky education community has received a great deal of interest in opening and converting existing schools to charters.

What does HB 520 call for?

1.    House Bill 520 allows for the establishment of charter schools across the Commonwealth. Unlike some other state’s charter school legislation, Kentucky’s bill does not limit the number of schools or regions where they can form. 

2.    The bill outlines how charter school applications are authorized: by local boards of education or by the mayors of Louisville and Lexington. If a charter school application is denied, it can then go through an appeals process with the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE).

What is the result?

1.    Kentucky families will have additional high-quality public school options.

2.    House Bill 520 will create new opportunities for communities and families to engage in public school creation and governance.

3.    Charter schools will provide opportunities for public school administrators and teachers to be innovative with public school governance, structure, and curriculum.

What’s been done since the bill passed?

1.    Regulations have been promulgated on student applications, charter applications, authorizer accountability, the process for conversion, and appeals to the Kentucky Board of Education 

2.    Governor Bevin created a new Charter School Advisory Council to advise the Kentucky Board of Education. 

3.    A division of charter schools was created by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).

What are the next steps?

1.    The Kentucky General Assembly needs to put funding language into statute that ensures equitable funding for charter schools. 

2.    The Kentucky Department of Education, in collaboration with the Kentucky Education and Workforce Cabinet, must work to manage the growth of high-quality public charter schools in Kentucky.​