Gov. Bevin establishes charter schools council via executive order

06/03/2017 03:30 PM

Gov. Matt Bevin created the Kentucky Charter Schools Advisory Council and shuffled other education-oriented boards via executive order Friday as legislation on charter schools and education reform take effect.

The nine-member charter schools council will be advise the Kentucky Board of Education on charter-school regulations, review charter applications and recommend approval or disapproval, and recommend actions on appeals, along with any other duties handed down by the state education board, according to the executive order.

Bevin’s order calls for three members of the state board, one member of the School Curriculum, Assessment and Accountability Council, one parent of a school-aged child, one attorney with experience in education law, one individual with a background in business or finance, and two people with education policy expertise to serve on the Kentucky Charter Schools Advisory Council.

House Bill 520, which takes effect July 1, legalized public charter schools in Kentucky, making it the 44th state with such a law. Supporters said the bill would improve educational opportunities in the state while opponents feared that public charter schools would siphon funds from traditional public schools.

“The historic charter school legislation passed during this year’s General Assembly session represents a truly momentous step forward in providing quality choices for Kentucky’s most vulnerable students,” Bevin said in a statement.

“This advisory council will play a vital role in ensuring the success of this exciting new educational option. Public charter schools will create the promise of real opportunity for young people and their families where hope does not currently exist.”

Bevin’s order also changed various educational panels, including the Kentucky Board of Education, Council on Postsecondary Education, School Curriculum, Assessment and Accountability Council, Education Professional Standards Board and State Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education.

The state board will now include four non-voting advisors, who must either be a member of the Council on Postsecondary Education; a member of the Education Professional Standards Board; a member of the School Curriculum, Assessment and Accountability Council; a member of the Charter Schools Advisory Council; or a parent of a public school child, an educator with at least five years of experience or a businessperson with at least five years of leadership experience.

The advisors will not be members of the education board, but they “are entitled to be present at all meetings, including closed sessions, and to be fully heard and to participate in all topics of discussion,” Bevin’s executive order reads.

Changes laid out in the order will help the Kentucky Board of Education as SB 1, which took effect when Bevin signed it April 10, is implemented, with a new state education plan due to the U.S. Department of Education in September 2018, according to a news release from the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

SB 1 complies with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and alters the state’s education standards, giving the state Department of Education authority to review those standards every six years and local school districts the ability to develop teacher evaluation methods and criteria.

“Increased expertise on Kentucky’s boards and councils will help ensure that Kentucky’s new accountability system results in improved education outcomes for students,” Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner said in a statement. “Through this realignment, we are appointing members and advisors who will serve in dual capacities on various boards. These dual members and advisors will enhance the flow of communication between boards.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

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