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NKU Board of Regents Will Let Deadline Pass on Option to Authorize Charter School

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Dec. 13, 2022 - ɫƵ’s board of regents today, at its last meeting of the year, took no action to accept the role of “authorizer” of a pilot charter school located in Kenton or Campbell counties. 

In April 2022, the Kentucky legislature passed House Bill 9, which established the Kentucky Public Charter School Pilot Project. Under the new law, the board of regents was invited to consider serving as an authorizer of one or more public charter schools.  The “authorizer” would be tasked with choosing the school’s operator, monitoring progress and being accountable for its success. The law also provides that if the board wishes to serve as an authorizer, it must vote to confirm its participation by January 1, 2023. 

As in other states that allow charter schools, the operator could be a for-profit or non-profit entity, or the public school districts serving the designated communities. At today’s meeting, Board Chair Rich Boehne asked the board of regents to consider whether to advance a proposal that would have confirmed the board’s election to serve as the “authorizer” of the pilot school. However, no board member made a motion to approve the resolution, so no vote was taken. 

“NKU’s board conducted extensive research into not only the merits and strategies of charter schools across the nation, but also the specific reasoning behind the proposed charter school in Northern Kentucky,” said Boehne. “We also engaged both the proponents and opponents of local charter schools, and scrutinized the plan – including the role of authorizer – as specifically defined in House Bill 9. 

“While I believe there are those on our board who would generally support our role as authorizer and those on our board who would vote against it, there is clear consensus – as evidenced by the board’s lack of action – that the option offered to us, as defined in House Bill 9, is not workable.” 

Concerns cited by the NKU board included a lack of start-up funding available to the authorizer; the aggressive timeline for approving the strategy, operator and opening of the school; the cost of legal challenges to the charter school’s long-term funding strategy; and, among other concerns, the financial viability of a small-scale charter schools operation. 

“While our board is presently unwilling to take on this specific opportunity, there is good news coming out of this difficult process. All parties on all sides of this effort have agreed to work together to seek the best ways to improve the education and lives of children in our community,” Boehne said. “NKU, in its role as the largest provider of post-secondary education in our region, is determined to support this collaboration for the good of our entire region.” 

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ɫƵ NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit .

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