School Board Group: Bevin Order Leaves Questions About Charter Panel Authority (Updated)

Jun 6, 2017

The Kentucky School Boards Association wants to make sure a provision in Gov. Matt Bevin’s recent executive order doesn't permit charter school applicants to sidestep local school boards.

Under House Bill 520 passed this year, local school boards and the mayors of Lexington and Louisville are listed as the primary authorizers of charter schools. But Bevin’s order setting up a Charter Schools Advisory Council contains language suggesting the panel could review charter applications and make recommendations to the Kentucky Board of Education.

Brad Hughes with the Kentucky School Boards Association says his group will seek assurances that the governor isn’t creating an end-around for charter applicants.

"We want to make certain that the role of the local school board that is set down in law takes place," Hughes says. "And we also want to make certain that there's no secondary process for someone to bypass the local board and go to a state panel and ask for improvement."

House Bill 520 does send appeals and disputes about charter applications to the state Board of Education.

Hughes says the association is collecting a number of questions it will present to the Governor's Office. WUKY reached to a spokesperson for the governor, but has not received a response.

Update (5:30 p.m.): Jessica Fletcher with the Education and Workforce Cabinet responded: "The executive order issued on June 2 does not provide another way for charter applications to be authorized. The Advisory Council is a group that will review and only make recommendations related to charter regulations and applications to the Education Commissioner and the Kentucky Board of Education. The Kentucky Board of Education may review the decisions of local authorizers either upon its own motion or upon appeal as consistent with House Bill 520."