KY Policy Blog

Tuition Increase Ceilings Announced

By Ashley Spalding
March 31, 2017

Today the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) announced the maximum in-state undergraduate tuition and mandatory fee increases the state’s public universities and community colleges will be allowed to charge students in the coming year. These tuition caps range from zero at the University of Louisville (at their request) to five percent at four of the state’s comprehensive institutions. In the coming months, the higher education institutions will decide how much to increase tuition and fees within these limits. While college affordability is widely understood to be a serious challenge in read more

Charter School Legislation Passes, But Questions and Concerns Remain About Funding

By Pam Thomas
March 17, 2017

The Kentucky General Assembly gave final approval to charter schools in the waning days of the 2017 legislative session after heated and lengthy debate in both chambers. The approval came in two parts, with the operating provisions included in House Bill 520 and the funding provisions in House Bill 471. The funding provisions in HB 471 raise new questions about how the funding for charter schools would actually work and many of the concerns we previously expressed continue as charter schools will inevitably divert funding away from our state’s existing read more

Funding and Accountability Concerns Still Apply to Senate Version of Charter Bill

By Ashley Spalding
March 15, 2017

An amended version of House Bill 520 passed the Senate Education committee this morning and is now heading to the Senate floor. The changes made to the bill were relatively minor and the concerns we expressed previously still apply.

The changes made to the version of HB 520 that passed the Senate include clarification around definitions (for instance, which mayors can be authorizers); when a traditional public school can convert to a charter; teacher qualifications; and the lottery process that occurs when more students are interested in attending a charter read more

Big Funding Concerns with Amended Charter Bill

By Ashley Spalding
March 3, 2017

The amended version of House Bill 520 — the charter school legislation that passed the House today — rightly prohibits virtual charter schools, but other changes made to the bill raise new issues and concerns. There are big problems and unanswered questions with how the funding for charter schools will work, and funds for existing public schools — which are already stretched thin — continue to be in jeopardy.

Here are some of the changes made in HB 520’s committee substitute:

Changes that addressed concerns expressed about earlier drafts: Virtual read more

Tax Credit Doesn’t Help Kentucky Schools and Kids

By Anna Baumann
March 3, 2017

A recent op-ed from the sponsors of private school tax credit proposals in this year’s General Assembly suggests the program would help provide educational opportunities to families in need and save the state and local schools money. But “Ed Choice” tax credits are simply back-door private school vouchers aimed at shifting resources. They reduce the dollars available for public education, limiting schools’ ability to help low-income children succeed.

The Legislative Research Commission is the source of the $76 million price tag on the bills in the program’s sixth year. In read more

Layers of Concern in Funding for Charter Schools

By Pam Thomas
March 1, 2017

There are many reasons to be concerned about funding for charter schools as proposed in HB 520. Local public school districts could lose control of a number of different resources and funding streams in the required transfer of monies to charter schools, adding stress to their budgets and including the loss of monies that may have nothing to do with the services charter schools offer.

Traditional public schools lose authority to direct resources under HB 520

On the surface, HB 520 seems to safeguard traditional public schools from large financial read more

Virtual Schools Problematic in Charter Bill

By Ashley Spalding
February 23, 2017

An especially problematic part of House Bill 520 is its inclusion of virtual charter schools. There are numerous concerns about the quality of education provided by virtual charters as well as the potentially large diversion of local school district and state money to fund these schools.

Virtual charter schools offer K-12 education exclusively online. Under HB 520, they could enroll students located anywhere in Kentucky and would, like brick and mortar charters, receive state and local funding; it is of note that the companies managing these schools are often located read more

Funding Concerns Persist in New Charter Bill

By Pam Thomas
February 22, 2017

House Bill 520 is a very different charter school proposal than the previously introduced HB 103. While some concerns we previously expressed about charter authorizing authority in HB 103 have been addressed in HB 520, funding concerns remain and new resource concerns have been introduced.

One significant change in HB 520 is that authorizers are limited to local school boards, with final approval by the commissioner of education. The change partially addresses the issue we noted in HB 103, that entities outside the public school realm could authorize charter schools, read more

The Math Behind Ed Choice Tax Credit Fails Many Tests

By Anna Baumann
February 21, 2017

Today in the House Education Committee legislators are hearing discussion of House Bill 162, a proposal to create a so-called Education Choice tax credit in Kentucky. This proposal does not target low- and moderate-income students as suggested; is expensive, taking resources away from public schools and other investments; and provides an excessively large credit under which some high-income individuals could actually make money.

Ed Choice Is Not Designed to Help Low- to Moderate-Income Families

House Bill 162 would create a 90 percent tax credit for individuals, businesses and banks who read more

Questions and Answers on Performance Funding for Higher Education

By Ashley Spalding
February 20, 2017

The theory behind performance based funding for higher education in Kentucky is that tying some funding for the state’s public universities and community colleges to outcomes could incentivize the institutions to graduate more students. While it is a relatively simple concept, the details of the performance funding bill Senate Bill 153 are more complicated. Here are some of the key questions and answers on the topic.

Where does the funding come from?

While performance funding is often tied to new money, in this case it is not. In 2018, the read more