| Post By Susan Perkins Weston |
WDRB is reporting that Commissioner Pruitt thinks Kentucky's first charter school is likely to open in 2018-19, rather than this summer. Based on House Bill 520's requirements, that estimate seems pretty sound. Kentucky's newly-signed legislation sets up the process for opening a charter school:
1. An applicant submits a detailed application to an authorizer (a school board, a collaborative of school boards, or the mayor of Lexington or Louisville) and the Kentucky Department of Education
2. The authorizer approves or denies the application within 60 days after the application is filed
3. The approved application goes to the Commissioner for final approval
4. Members of the charter school's board of directors takes their oath of office as government officials within 60 days after the Commissioner's approval
5. The charter school board and the authorizer agree on and sign a charter contract within 75 days after the Commissioner's approval
6. The charter school receives student applications and conducts a lottery if there are more applicants than spaces, following a lottery regulation that will be set by the Kentucky Board of Education
7. The charter school opens its doors and begins teaching the admitted students
That looks like a process of at least five months. In theory, the application could be approved and the contract signed more quickly than the allowed 60 and 75 days. In practice, both will be long documents that need careful review and could easily need the full allowed time for action. The Commissioner's final approval probably cannot be given the day the application reaches his office, and gathering student applications will certainly take a few weeks.
Plus, those five months start at the end of June. HB 520 will become law 90 days after the General Assembly adjourns at the end of March. That makes late November the earliest time a school could notify students of admission.
Bottom Line: HB 520 says charters can happen in 2017-18, but HB 520's calendar says it'll take a bit longer.