The debate over charter schools is one Kentucky educators and legislators have heard and argued over for the last several years. But supporters of the education reform feel one party left out of those discussions is ready to be brought into the fold. A newly formed group called Kentuckians Advocating Reforms in Education (KARE) is launching TV ad buys across the commonwealth today to educate the general public about charter schools. KARE has spent $8,950 to air the ad on WLKY in Louisville. In Lexington, the group is spending similar numbers, $8,000 for a week of ads on WLEX.
Former Louisville Metro Councilman and Republican mayoral candidate Hal Heiner is the group's chairman. Ads are usually reserved for political campaigns, not legislative issues, but KARE and other organizations like the Kentucky Charter School Project are targeting 2012 as the year charter schools should be passed into law in Kentucky.KARE's TV ad is running in every media market in the state except Northern Kentucky. Kentucky is among nine states that have not passed any charter school legislation. Kentucky's absence of charter schools is one thing many supporters of the reform say has kept the state from winning multiple Race to the Top federal education grants.A bill to add charter schools has been filed by state Rep. Brad Montell, a Shelbyville Republican, for several years. And supporters in the state Senate have filed and passed bills in that chamber as well, but all the measures have died in the House.