+ Summary of Kentucky’s Public Charter Schools Law

Public Charter Schools:

  • Start-up and conversion charters permitted
  • Virtual charter schools are not allowed
  • Charter schools are freed from most state laws and regulations except for those related to student health, life, and safety, state code of ethics, financial audits and transparency


  • Charters must participate in all state accountability programs and state testing
  • Charter schools must meet or exceed state graduation requirements and compulsory attendance laws
  • Charter applicants enter into a binding charter contract outlining student academic outcomes and all financial expenditures

Authorizer Type:

  • Local boards of education
  • Collaborative of local school boards that forms to set up a regional public charter school
  • Mayors of Louisville and Lexington may apply to the Kentucky Board of Education to become an authorizer
  • Final approval from the Commissioner of Education for authorized schools

Appeals Process:

  • Application decisions may be appealed to the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE.
  • KBE may affirm the authorizer’s decision, or remand back to district for reconsideration
  • If district does not approve, application may be appealed again to KBE
  • KBE may affirm authorizer decision, or remand back to district directing the district to authorize
  • For charters authorized after appeal, local board and KBE exercise joint oversight for 5 years


  • Any student residing in the district may attend a public charter school in that district
  • Preferences allowable for students on free or reduced lunch, students with special needs, and students attending persistently low-achieving schools
  • Charter schools must offer special education services in compliance with all state and federal laws
  • Open and transparent lottery used in admissions if more applicants than available seats

Charter School Board of Directors:

  • Has final authority over all school based decisions
  • Must follow open meetings and open records laws
  • Must follow strict code of ethics and abide by all state nepotism and conflict of interest laws


  • Charter teachers must be state certified
  • Charter employees are employees of the charter school
  • Charter employees are provided health, life, and retirement benefits as all public school employees
  • Participation in state retirement system is required
  • State legislature makes the same appropriation for charter school teacher benefits as for any other public school teacher.


  • If a charter school offers inter-scholastic athletics, students may only participate in athletics at the charter school.
  • If a charter school chooses not to provide inter-scholastic athletics, students may participate at their residential home school.