Voting along strict party lines, the Kentucky Senate has approved a bill that would allow persistently low-performing public schools to become charter schools.
Under the legislation, school officials would submit applications to the local board of education to turn a school into a charter, the board of education would decide whether to allow them to become a charter school. A two-thirds majority vote by the school board would decide whether a school would become a charter school.
"I believe that we need to give everybody a great education here," said state Sen. Mike Wilson, a Republican from Bowling Green, the bill's sponsor.
"Otherwise, I would not have agreed to serve as the chair of the Senate Education Committee I have a passion for education, to see our kids educated properly."
The often debated legislation had vocal opposition in the chamber from state Sen. Gerald Neal, a Democrat of Louisville.
"Many of our students are not getting the benefit of what we would expect from education in the systems that exists," Neal said. "I think it is also clear that change is taking place on the ground in those systems."
The bill now moves to the Kentucky House of Representatives for committee assignment.