Alternative To Charter Schools Bill Advances In Frankfort

An alternative to charter schools legislation approved by the Kentucky Senate has cleared a key House committee.

In January, the Senate approved legislation backed by the chamber’s Republican majority, allowing charter schools in Kentucky. Charter schools are granted regulatory relief in exchange for high performance. But the bill, which landed in the House Education Committee, has gone nowhere.

Rep. Carl Rollins, who chairs the committee, is a charter school opponent. Instead of charter schools, Rollins proposes what he calls ‘districts of innovation.’

“To get a school to be part of the district of innovation, or for a specific school, there would have to be buy-in. and this bill calls for considerable buy-in – probably a little bit too much, even,” he said.

The bill, which gives districts leeway to try new ideas, sailed through the committee 25-0. The committee also approved tighter restrictions on for-profit colleges and sent both bills to the House floor.

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.