First charter school application in Kentucky rejected

NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) — The first charter school application filed in Kentucky has been unanimously denied, leaving the state to likely go another year without charter schools since being approved by the General Assembly in 2017.

Newport Independent Schools rejected the application from the proposed River Cities Academy on Thursday night, news outlets reported. A review committee including 32 public school educators, administrators and experts reportedly examined the 1,062 page application.

A “lack of competency” to support students with special needs, “significant plagiarism in the application process,” unclear transportation plans and a lack of authentic evidence of community support played a role in the committee’s rejection, according to news outlets.

“The applicant lacked specificity and provided unfinished planning in multiple areas that leave significant question as to whether or not the school will be able to launch successfully for a proposed August 2020 start date,” Superintendent Kelly Middleton told the Newport Board of Education, a district news release stated.

Superintendents from other districts in northern Kentucky reportedly opposed the charter school at a public forum Dec. 18.

The leader of the proposed charter school, Lynn Schaber, didn’t immediately comment Friday morning, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. River Cities Academy can appeal the decision to the state board of education under Kentucky law.

The Kentucky General Assembly has legalized charter schools as long as they’re approved by a local school board. A funding source for the schools hasn’t been provided by state lawmakers, news outlets reported.