Checking the pulse of charter school legislation in the Senate

03/07/2017 07:23 PM

FRANKFORT — Republicans in the state Senate have proposed and passed charter school legislation in recent years, and while two members we spoke with on Tuesday still are in favor of the concept they were less detailed in their thoughts on a version of the idea the House chamber passed last week.

Senate President Pro Tem David Givens, R-Greensburg, told Spectrum News the Senate received the bill from the House clerk on Monday, and the chamber would be giving the bill floor readings in anticipation of a floor vote before the end of the legislative session.

“We’ll work on it some at the end of the week, early next week and then possibly have something to talk publicly about mid-week next week,” Givens said.

Givens said he would not presume the Senate would or would not make changes to the bill sent to the upper chamber.

“We feel like there are some key components that need to be in the bill to make charters successful,” he said. “We, our staff and I, we haven’t analyzed the bill to see if they’re in there or not, and if they’re robust enough.”

Among the key components that Given, and others are looking for in a bill include charter authorizers and funding.

House Bill 520, allows the mayors of Louisville and Lexington to authorize charter school contracts, along with local school districts.

“Don’t let the perfect, be the enemy of the possible,” Givens said recognizing the “pressures against” charter schools in Kentucky.

Senate Education Committee chair Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, wouldn’t weigh in on the support of the bill in an interview with Spectrum News.

First, the Senate needs to do their homework on the bill, he said. Wilson, did say he thought the bill could pass this session.

“We have a lot of people weighing in — a lot of concerns,” he said. “It’s got to be about the kids — more importantly than anything else.”


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