House Bill 520, Kentucky's newly-signed charter school law, empowers the Kentucky Board of Education to issue regulations on four elements of how charter schools will operate:
- Admissions, including student applications, admissions lotteries, and enrollment
- Conversions, setting the process for turning existing public schools into charter schools (the conversion option has been used less often in other states than the "start up" approach, but both methods are allowed under the new Kentucky legislation)
- Closure rules for revoking charter school contracts or denying contract renewal
- Authorizer evaluation rules, setting expectations for how school boards and mayors will carry out their charter roles and creating procedures for handling any performance weaknesses.
Potential applicants may not want to wait for the regulations before proposing start-up charters. If their applications are approved, charter schools will need the admissions rules before they seek students, and once they start classes, they'll certainly want to avoid the closure process. Still, it seems possible to create and file applications that include a simple commitment to follow the regulations that are being developed.
Authorizers may see this issue differently. Knowing that there will be regulatory rules on how their work is evaluated, they may want to organize their activities around meeting those expectations –and therefore want to wait to see the final version before starting on application reviews.
A recent PrichBlog post estimated a minimum five-month timeline from application filing to first day of classes. If those five months can't start until after six months of regulation work, it's going to be a fairly tight schedule to open charter schools for the 2018-19 school year.