After almost a decade of outstanding and unfailing service, our founding executive director, David Dunn, will conclude his leadership at the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) in October.
David had a huge task when we asked him to help create our Association in 2008 and no one could have done a better job. Under his leadership:
- Public charter school student enrollment increased from 90,000 students in 2008-09 to nearly 250,000 in 2015-16, averaging a 13 percent increase annually as compared to two percent growth by the overall public school system. Sixty-seven percent of these students are economically disadvantaged.
- Parental demand for charter schools swelled significantly to include an additional 141,000 waiting list students, far outpacing existing capacity.
- Membership in the Association has grown to cover almost 90 percent of all students educated in charter schools in Texas.
- TCSA developed the Quality Framework, the first comprehensive self-improvement process designed specifically for charter schools, which is a condition of membership in the Association.
In addition, David’s advocacy expertise drove important policy advances for Texas charter schools, most recently:
- Charter schools’ access to the Permanent School Fund (PSF) Bond Guarantee Program was again expanded during the recently concluded 85th Texas Legislative Session. Charter school participation in this program has already realized a savings of about $10.5 million annually for the next 25 years. It is anticipated that savings will increase four-fold over the next five years, allowing charter schools to better utilize those dollars for classroom and expansion purposes.
- Support for charter schools in the Texas Legislature has advanced in important ways, including a resounding 144 to 3 defeat for a proposal to defund charter schools during the most recent Texas Legislative Session.
- Advances were made in prior sessions, including passage of SB 2 in 2013, which raised the cap for charters and also increased accountability. In 2011, TCSA also worked on the passage of legislation providing charters access to the PSF Bond Guarantee Program for the first time.
- As one of the foremost public school finance experts in Texas, David was an integral part of the plaintiff group representing students in a case that reached the Texas Supreme Court. While the state’s highest court dismissed the group’s claims, the Court recognized the rights of charter school students to an adequate, suitable and efficient education.
David has done a great service for the children and families of Texas by devoting his wisdom, experience and in-depth policy knowledge to our cause. We fully intend to build upon his achievements and continue the progress he has begun under new leadership later this year.
The TCSA Board of Directors has appointed an executive search committee, headed by founding board member, Lori Fey—and also featuring Mike Feinberg, Alfredo Segura, and Kathleen Zimmermann—to lead the process for selecting a new executive director.
We are determined to find a leader who, like David, has the focus to tackle critical issues, a passion for providing quality education options, and the integrity to accomplish our objectives in ways that reflect the TCSA’s values.
David is leaving TCSA to launch a new venture, D2 Strategies, LLC, where he will continue supporting our cause as a consultant in education and other important domestic policy issues.
We want to thank him again for championing our efforts and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. David – you will be very missed.