CCPS Superintendent Opposes Charter Schools Bill; Gov. Beshear Vetoes HB9

Published 10:47 am Saturday, April 9, 2022

Clark County Public Schools Superintendent Molly McComas opposes a charter schools bill (HB 9) that has been percolating up through the legislature. McComas asks people to sign a petition opposed to HB 9 — Demand Public Funds Not Be Diverted to Private Schools.

McComas seeks to generate 1,000 signatures this weekend for the petition administered by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators. The petition will ask only for your name and county of residence. Petition can be found at: https://bit.ly/3FUZKu8

“Please consider the power of your voice,” McComas said. “Not signing the petition takes power away from every student that is already marginalized. Your name is your voice. Every county needs your support!”

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Though Governor Andy Beshear vetoed HB 9 Thursday, Republican majorities in the legislature may seek to override the veto.

“I am vetoing House Bill 9 because it diverts taxpayer funds away from our already underfunded public schools in the Commonwealth, redirecting those funds to for-profit entities running charter schools,” Beshear wrote in his veto message. “The diverted taxpayer funds will go to charter schools that have boards that are not elected and answerable to the people that are not required to comply with the same controls and accountability measures as traditional public schools.”

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools issued a statement regarding Beshear’s veto of HB 9. National Alliance said the bill would have made major improvements to the state’s charter school law, most notably by providing a permanent funding mechanism for charter schools. Kentucky is one of only seven states in the nation without any operating charter schools.

“We are deeply disappointed in Governor Beshear. He is clearly letting his ties to special interest groups interfere with his duty to best serve Kentucky students and families,” says Todd Ziebarth, Senior Vice President of State Advocacy and Support, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “Many studies and overwhelming parent demand prove public charter schools work for millions of families across the country. Kentucky’s charter school law has been on the books since 2017 and it is time to permanently fund these unique, innovative public schools.”

McComas said she seeks to engage and create partnerships between the school system and the community; relationships that will better serve the students. Charter schools redirect money away from public education

“As a public servant, I long for our communities’ need to fall back in love with public education,” McComas posted to social media Saturday. “And yes, I firmly believe public education needs to partner with families and stakeholders to be what the community needs us to be. I long for authentic relationships to exist between student/teacher, teacher/parent, leadership/student/teacher/parent…community. We have to support one another, now more than ever.  This post is to employ friends to oppose HB 9 by signing the petition. HB 9 redirects monies away from public education to fund charter schools.”

McComas said these partnerships and public accountability are important.

“We are committed to high quality programs, a rigorous curriculum, and a nurturing/safe environment for every student,” she said. “We, like every other district, have a lot of work to do. We are committed to living out our mission of our public school. We need our parents, friends, stakeholders…We need our communities to wrap around us. Hold us accountable. Partner with us. All in the name of aligning with the community.

“We need public schools to be so strong that we have a continuous wave of economic growth and development because our students’ education aligns with the business and industry and future development of our own community. And…the student was poured into so much that they want to raise their own families where they grew up. Think about the power in the community when this happens.

“Your students are your future husbands, wives, parents, entrepreneurs, legislatures, pastors, industry workers, health care providers, transportation teams, customer service, and it goes on…for their own community!

“Social media can bring folks together; however, in most cases, it is an easy platform to tear others down and erode relationships and trust. This post is to request your help as HB 9 goes back to legislators. If you value (really think about that)…really value and expect your public school to serve the needs of all students and to match the expectations of its community, please sign the petition.

“If you are frustrated with public schools and you expect change, please sign the petition. Opening the door to charter schools will create more inequity. Public schools will continue to serve every child, yet will lose funds to for-profit and not-for-profit charter schools. Charter schools will be more selective with enrollment, process, and logistics.

“Become a partner with your school district. Attend functions, go to ball games, take in some great plays and performances, run for SBDM or school board, speak positively of your school system and if you are dissatisfied, voice it appropriately. Build others up. Let’s get back to the community.”

McComas cited a TN Channel 5 investigative report about its charter schools: https://www.newschannel5.com/news/newschannel-5-investigates/revealed-billionaires-millionaires-corporate-interests-fuel-battle-over-tennessee-schools?fbclid=IwAR1llxeA6_lrpTCLBfZA-ki2gHb4z4ElulrilL7MfZaUlfqv0O344IvLyEs

Indiana’s choice plan was supposed to save the state millions but instead costs $867 million annually and is labeled as a plan of segregation, McComas said. Here is that article: https://kappanonline.org/indiana-school-choice-means-segregation-shaffer-dincher/?fbclid=IwAR0eQY4nGX7nzKuIIAjk9M6L7bb53rmujqejGDENwy_H-ufGb-d1TMhxHbg

National Alliance said charter schools predominantly serve under-served communities and do an exceptional job at it. Data shows almost 70% of charter school students are students of color compared to about 53% of district school students. Stanford’s CREDO found that in urban charter schools, low-income Latino students gained 48 additional days in math and 25 additional days in reading per year, while low-income Black students gained 44 additional days in reading and 59 additional days in math per year.