An organization representing public school employees in Kentucky is worried about the impact charter schools will have on the commonwealth.
A law that went into effect this year allows applications for charter schools in Kentucky for the first time. Charter schools will receive taxpayer funding, but will also be exempt from most state regulations governing public schools. Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association, is worried charter schools will focus on profits, not children.
“Taking money from our traditional public schools, and putting them into the pockets of private companies that are making money on the backs of our children,” Winkler said.
Charter school supporters say they’re a needed option for students and parents who aren’t satisfied with their public school options.
Winkler said public schools have the ability to get creative and tackle difficult education issues. She said a new academy in Jefferson County for male students of color is an example of public schools focusing on a specific population.
“There’s flexibility to a point for school’s to do things like that now, without having to be a charter school and that’s just one example of a school doing innovative things to address the needs in their district,” Winkler said.
Winkler said she wants charter school applications to be under the sole authority of the local board of education. Current law allows local school districts and the mayors of Lexington and Louisville to approve new charter schools. In early June, Governor Bevin issued an executive order creating a Charter Schools Advisory Council to review charter applications and make recommendations to the state board of education for final approval.