A previous version of the story incorrectly said the House filing deadline was Tuesday. It was switched to Wednesday. The story has been updated.
A bill creating a funding stream for charter schools in Kentucky appears unlikely as the filing deadline approaches in the House.
Five sources close to charter school chatter — three advocates, an education advocacy group representative and a lawmaker — said there is no talk of filing a charter school funding mechanism bill in the House before the filing deadline on Wednesday. The Senate filing deadline was Friday, which passed without a charter bill filed.
Barring a last-second filing or a current bill being gutted and transformed into a funding bill in the remaining weeks of the session, it appears the only charter school-related bills will be two House bills hoping to repeal Kentucky’s charter law.
“We do not anticipate any legislation in this session, as many legislators have shared they do not want to take up funding issues in a non-budget year,” Josh Shoulta, a spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association, said Monday. “Such a bill may be more likely next session in conjunction with the budget process.”
The lack of a bill signals a win for public education advocates, who criticize the school type for pulling state funds away from underfunded school districts.
A long-term funding mechanism is considered the final hurdle to bringing charter schools to Kentucky. Without funding, charter schools are unlikely to open despite being legal since 2017.
A funding mechanism was a key item on the Kentucky Department of Education’s legislative agenda. Commissioner Wayne Lewis said he would push for funding in the legislative session in November, a month before the full agenda was released.
A KDE spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment last week about the likelihood of a funding bill.
Lewis’ funding mechanism idea would not involve a new appropriation, which would be more difficult to pass in a non-budget year.
Instead, it would change the state’s per-pupil funding formula to let the money follow a student to a public school of their choosing, both traditional or charter. Should a student opt for a charter school in Louisville, for example, then any state or local funds raised for that student would go to the charter instead of the local public school district.
Critics argued such a mechanism would reduce funds available for districts while not causing enough disruption to impact fixed costs like transportation and facility maintenance.