Kentucky governor vetoes charter school bill

Gov. Beshear says the bill would divert money away from already underfunded public schools

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A bill aimed at introducing charter schools in Kentucky and supplying them with funding was vetoed Thursday by Gov. Andy Beshear, who said it would divert money from traditional public schools.

“My administration has always been an education first administration,” says Beshear. “So I deeply and I personally believe that we should be investing in our public schools and our educators.”

The Democratic governor’s rejection of the measure sets up a policy showdown with the Republican-dominated legislature. Lawmakers will have a chance to override the veto when they reconvene next week for the final two days of this year’s session.

Beshear used his weekly news conference to fulfill his pledge to veto the bill, which cleared both chambers with narrow veto-proof majorities.

“I’m against charter schools,” he said. “They are wrong for our commonwealth. They take taxpayer dollars away from the already-underfunded public schools in the commonwealth.”

The legislature authorized charter schools in 2017. None have been created in Kentucky because lawmakers didn’t provide a permanent funding mechanism.

The measure Beshear vetoed would have set up a long-term funding method for charter schools. Public charters, like traditional public schools, would have received a mix of local and state tax support.

The bill also would have required that at least two charter schools be created under pilot projects — one in Louisville and one in northern Kentucky.

The bill’s backers said charters would give parents more choices for their children’s schooling.

 

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