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Kentucky Lawmakers File Bills to Allow Charter Schools in the State

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Kentucky lawmakers have filed legislation in both chambers to allow charter schools to open in the state.

Kentucky is among only eight states without a charter law on the books—that includes Washington where the state's high court recently ruled charter schools unconstitutional. 

Lawmakers have submitted bills in both the Kentucky House and the state Senate which would allow charter schools to open in only two counties under a five-year pilot program. They would also create a statewide charter school commission to approve charter applicants and oversee schools. 

Legislators and advocates have been trying to pass a charter school law in Kentucky for years, but they might have better luck this session with a new, pro-charter governor in office among other reasons, reports the Courier-Journal.

Of the eight states that still don't allow charters, most are rural and have also been resistant to other forms of school choice, such as vouchers for private schools, as I wrote last year for Education Week.

Besides Kentucky, the other holdouts are Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia. Then there's Washington state, which had a charter school law until September when the state's supreme court ruled that law improperly funded charter schools and struck it down. Lawmakers there are considering legislation to revive the charter law by changing its funding source.

Alabama was the most recent state to pass a charter law, which it did last year.

In related news, another Kentucky lawmaker filed a bill this week to create a school voucher program for students with special needs, according to the Courier-Journal. 

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