Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Senate charter plan: are these schools public schools?

Okay, Kentucky is now debating whether to debate charter schools, and the proposal that's on the table is the state Senate's amendments to House Bill 109.

That language defines a charter school as:
  • "a nonsectarian, nonreligious, non-home-based, tuition-free public school that operates within a local school district"
  • "or a statewide virtual charter school approved by the Kentucky Department of Education through collaboration with Kentucky Educational Television and local school districts."
The charter application must commit to:
  • Open enrollment to all students in the local district and contiguous districts.
  • Make admission decisions in a nondiscriminatory manner.
  • Not charge tuition. 
The charter application cannot be a plan:
  • "to convert a private school or a nonpublic home-based education program into a charter school"
  • "or to create a charter school which is a nonpublic home-based educational program."
The local school board also has important leverage in this relationship. It must approve the charter application.  It can cancel the charter contract if it decides that the school:
  • violated a material part of the contract.
  • violated a law (other than one from which it got an exemption).
  • failed to meet "meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management"
  • did not deliver the student achievement it promised.
The board can also cancel the charter if it "determines that it is not in the interest of students residing within the school district to continue the operation of the charter school."

If you can't charge tuition, aren't sectarian, can't discriminate, have to be approved by the local board, and can be closed by the local board, I think you qualify as a public school.  You may be a good version or a bad version of a public school, but on the basics, you're public.

UPDATE: I have corrected the bill number in the post above.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like the local school boards will indeed have a lot of power in all this. I expect new thorough training will be given to them on the application process and all the pieces you described in the previous post....whoa! Monster is right!


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