Kentucky is one of the few states that did not have any charter schools until the Republicans swept into power. Republicans have longed for school choice, because choice and competition are baked into free-market ideology. Besides, their neighboring state Tennessee has charter schools. They didn’t care that Kentucky’s students perform better than those of Tennessee on the National Assessment of Educational Performance. The Republicans in Kentucky want the same failed ideas as everyone else.


The school board of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, passed a resolution saying that they don’t want charter schools. They want to protect and improve their public schools, not destroy or privatize them. They don’t see the point of a dual school system.


In the resolution, the board expressed concerns about charter schools siphoning money from public schools, lacking similar transparency and accountability standards as public schools, and failing to help at-risk students.


“The Elizabethtown Independent Board of Education opposes any Charter School legislation that will establish a separate system of state-authorized public charter schools that are funded through a funding formula that unilaterally takes critically needed funds from the local school districts and redirects them to charter schools, thereby debilitating the significantly underfunded existing system of funding for public education for all Kentucky students,” the resolution states.


The board held a discussion on charter schools before unanimously passing the resolution.


“We know with very good confidence that charter schools will continue to defund what is already underfunded,” said Tony Kuklinski, a board member. “They will take taxpayer money, money from the people we represent, and put it into a private enterprise for personal gain with no substantial data to support a better education system than a public school system.”


Kuklinski added that once the charter schools fail or decide to close shop, children will return to public schools undereducated.


“We already have things in place where if we don’t meet certain requirements and standards that the state has implemented, there can be sanctions up to and including the state coming in and taking over a school district,” he said…


Kentucky is one of seven states that does not have charter school legislation. Other states without charter schools are Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia.



Hardin County Schools Board of Education Chairman Charlie Wise, who also opposes charter schools, said the district will discuss and consider writing a similar resolution next month once new board members have been sworn in.


Congratulations to the Elizabethtown school board, which is far wiser than the Kentucky legislature.


Here is hoping that your courage and resolve spreads to many other school districts across the state and that it wins bipartisan support from every citizen in every school district. Everything in your resolution is correct. Charter schools are under private management; they are NOT public schools. If you sue them for excluding your children with special needs, they will tell the judge that they are a private corporation, not a “state actor.” They will drain resources from your local public schools, because the legislature has no intention of replacing the money you lose when kids are lured away with false promises. If charters are opened in your district, your public schools will lose money, teachers, and programs. Stay the course. Don’t let the corporations or representatives from ALEC bully you.