This time next year, charter schools will be opening for the first time in Kentucky. A new law will let local school boards and the mayors of Louisville and Lexington contract with private groups to create the alternative schools in their communities.
Western Kentucky University professor Gary Houchens is a member of the governor’s Charter Schools Advisory Committee. He’s been helping draft regulations that would, for one, determine how students are enrolled. If there are more applications than available spaces at a school, Houchens says a lottery will be held to draw names at random for admission.
"Anybody who applied but didn't make the lottery would go onto a waiting list, and then as there are openings at the school later one, they would use the waiting list to establish who is next in line for enrollment," Houchens said.
Once regulations are finalized early next year, applications will be accepted for the 2018-19 school year. Supporters say the schools could be tailored to meet the needs of at-risk children in a state where many public school students qualify for free lunch. Opponents say traditional public schools can accomplish the same things, but they must have the proper resources and support.