Charter Schools Bill May Be Stalled

Charter schools made big news in Kentucky last year when the state failed to win federal Race to the Top dollars for educational improvement.

Some top education officials argued the state would have faired better if it had charter schools, which are granted regulatory waivers in exchange for high performance.

House Education Committee Chairman Carl Rollins doesn’t buy that argument.

“I still don’t think they work nationwide. And I don’t think they would work in Kentucky. They certainly wouldn’t work in rural areas and most of our counties are rural. The only place they would have any chance of working would be in urban areas. And I don’t think they’re a good idea. I think it takes our focus away from making our public schools better,” he says.

Rollins doesn’t appear inclined to take up a Senate Republican-backed charter schools bill approved in January. But he’s signaling he soon will offer an alternative to the Senate bill.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.