State Lawmakers push for charter schools in Kentucky

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- Kentucky is a step closer to allowing charter schools after a yes vote from the state House on Friday.

After hours of debate, the state House of Representatives approved a bill in a 56 to 39 vote that would allow charter schools in Kentucky.

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House Bill 520 looks to give school boards and the mayors of Kentucky’s two largest cities, Louisville and Lexington, the power to approve an unlimited number of charter schools.

Lawmakers debated the bill on the House floor for close to three hours Friday afternoon.

Those in opposition arguing charter schools would take money away from public schools that are already underfunded.

But proponents of the bill, including Governor Matt Bevin, say charter schools are the solution to closing the achievement gap common with low-income and disabled students.

“I’m personally disgusted by the fact that the people that oppose this so adamantly continue at every turn in between texting to be passionate about what, about power, about money, about the transfer of dollars. It’s not about the students to anyone opposing this bill,” said Gov. Bevin.

We reached out to Lexington Mayor Jim Gray to get his opinion on the potential for charter schools.

His office sent this statement reading, “We haven’t had time to evaluate this legislation and the mayor certainly would want to talk with Superintendent Caulk before taking a stand. In Lexington, Fayette County Public Schools and the city work together… We all want the best education for our children.”

The bill will now go to the state Senate for a vote and if approved and then signed by the governor, will become law later this year.