TCSA worked with several organizations to create this to help your organization make decisions based on changes in the bill. However, some parts of House Bill 3 affecting charters called for the Commissioner to make implementation rules. All charter leaders should continue to check for rule updates from the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
An over-arching summary of House Bill 3 is available at www.thetexasplan.com or here. For updates on TEA guidance related to House Bill 3, please visit https://tea.texas.gov/hb3/. For House Bill 3 questions specific to your individual charter district, please email TEA at HB3info@tea.texas.gov.
House Bill 3: Changes and Implications for Public Charter Districts
Changes to the Funding Formula and Other Funding Streams
Educator Pay and Other Regulations
Other Non-HB 3 Bills with Impacts on Charters
Thanks to you, public charter schools in Texas had a very good legislative session!
Here’s the good news:
We also blocked 40 anti-charter school bills that would have stopped new school growth, made our schools less safe, increased red tape, and decreased funding.
Collectively, charter school supporters sent nearly 50,000 emails to lawmakers—which helped pass these important bills and will create a better environment for charter schools in the future.
Our success is a result of you making your voice heard! Thank you for supporting public charter schools throughout the legislative session.
We are grateful for your support!
Chief Executive Officer
With only a little over a month left in the 86th Texas Legislative session, the Texas Charter Schools Association has been spending many days at the Capitol and many hours engaging with our charter school advocates. Last week was charter day in the House Public Education Committee. The committee heard over 20 bills directly related to public charter schools. Over 60 members of the charter school community came out to testify and show their support. This week was charter day in the Senate Education Committee. Five bills were heard in the Senate Committee and many members of the charter community came to show their support and testify.
As session continues, TCSA will be at the front lines supporting and defending charter schools, but we cannot do it alone. Over the past two weeks, 2,700 charter school advocates sent over 37,000 emails to lawmakers asking for their support of public charter schools. We are grateful to everyone who has taken action and hope you will continue to advocate for Texas public charter schools with us!
As we continue to move forward this legislative session, it is important for everyone to get involved. Please contact your lawmaker and let them know you support public charter schools, or share your charter school story with them. TCSA will keep you posted throughout this year’s legislative session and let you know when critical charter school votes are happening and when it is time to act. Join the fight here or text COUNTMEIN to 52886.
Texas public school charters voices are being heard during this legislative interim as lawmakers prepare for the next session in Austin. On Monday, March 26, 2018 TCSA provided expert testimony at the Senate Education Committee hearing. Jerry Lager, Superintendent of Schools of Ki Charter testimony focused on teacher compensation and shared his school's best practices to retain high quality teachers. On Wednesday, April 4, 2018, Matthew Hansen, Director of School Operations at YES Prep Public Schools testified about the success of their partnerships with Spring Branch and Aldine ISD.
We are thankful that TCSA leaders step up during the interim to provide testimony at hearings in the House and Senate. It is important that we continue to share our stories of success. Coming to Austin isn't the only way to stay connected between sessions. We encourage you to reach out to your local officials at home in their districts offices to let them know about the good work we are doing!
I was so pleased to participate in National School Choice Week with nearly four thousand events taking place throughout our state. Parents, grandparents, teachers, administrators, and students from every type of school come together to celebrate the power of education. The premise of school choice is simple: we need a strong system of educational options in Texas, because every student deserves the right to learn and thrive.
Education isn’t a one size fits all proposition, and different learning environments are right for every child depending on their needs. Texans can be proud of our great traditional public schools, innovative public charter schools, and private and parochial schools in each of our communities. There are also parents who home school and take advantage of home school networks to educate their children. In Texas, we should work to ensure each of these models continues to flourish so that every child succeeds.
As a state senator who serves on the education committee, I’ve had the opportunity to visit classrooms of all types. Whether it’s a public, private, or home school; a charter or magnet program; or a traditional or online instructional format — when high quality teaching and learning happens, a student’s future is bright and their potential is unlimited. I’ve worked hard with my colleagues to ensure Texas families have choices within public education by championing policies that increase access to online digital learning and help keep up with the demand for innovative public charter schools.
Too often in the education community, there is a rush to secure resources and declare one type of classroom as the ideal model, pitting one type of schools against another. This is not beneficial to our dedicated teachers, does not help develop our future workforce, and it's certainly not in the best interest of the child. In education, the correct answer should truly be “all of the above.” Adding options multiplies success.
Texas boasts some of the best traditional and charter public schools in the nation. Our system of private and parochial schools is diverse, and homeschooling communities are growing, too. We should empower each of these types of schools to grow and improve so families have great options.
Texas is one of eleven states that provides parents with flexibility when enrolling their children in a traditional public school. Many of our school districts have developed successful magnet school programs. We also support open enrollment public charter schools, where some 141,000 students are on a waiting lists to attend one. Texas also provides tuition free online learning for students interested in this option to augment classroom learning.
Celebrating a good education means supporting it in all its forms wherever it occurs. What works for one child may not work for another. We need to call out excellent teaching and make sure our best teachers are rewarded. We need to drive more dollars to the classroom where learning actually occurs, not just support more bricks and mortar, fancy buildings, and stadiums. Most importantly, we need to expand school choice in Texas so that no child gets left out.
Where school choice is implemented, the results are promising. We see expanded opportunities for traditionally underserved students, higher test scores, and fewer disciplinary problems. The result is more students who are the first in their families to go to college and obtain high-demand job skills, creating an upwardly mobile trajectory where more Texans prosper.
As the mother of a sixth grader, it's important to me that we are doing everything we can to make sure our children live up to their full potential. We have a moral obligation to ensure every child has access to the best education - in every form. Let’s continue to explore ways to expand opportunities for all Texans.
Dr. Donna Campbell is an emergency room physician and Texas State Senator representing District 25.
This week three priority bills made it one step further along in the legislative process. On Tuesday, SB 1658 and HB 467 made it out of their respective committees. The Senate Education Committee unanimously voted out SB 1658, by Chairman Larry Taylor, the disposition of property bill. This bill would clarify the process that the state utilizes to dispose of property of a charter holder that ceases to operate. Also, it would clarify that title to the property remains with the charter holder while the charter is in operation. This language is important to ensure that we maintain a robust financing market for charter schools.
The House Public Education Committee unanimously voted out HB 467, the bill that would increase the capacity available for charter schools through the Permanent School Fund (PSF) Bond Guarantee program. This bill filed by Rep. Jim Murphy would save public charter schools millions of dollars on lower interest rates on their bonds and other related costs. It is truly a win-win: the bill would save taxpayer funds and keep dollars in the classroom.
Lastly, on Wednesday, April 12th, HB 382/HJR 34 was voted out of the House Ways and Means Committee. HB 382/HJR 34, also by Rep. Jim Murphy, would exempt the property leased by a public charter school from real property taxes. While both school districts and public charter schools that own their school buildings are exempt from real property taxes, public charter schools that lease their school buildings are not exempt from these taxes. Since public charter schools do not receive facilities funding from the state, many public charter schools lease their school building and this bill would be of great benefit. This is another bill that saves taxpayer funds and keeps them in the classroom.
The movement of these bills does not happen in a vacuum. Many thanks to all of our charter school operators, parents, and other stakeholders that help push pro-charter legislation forward. This is a step in the right direction, but there is much work yet to be done. If you haven’t contacted your legislator yet in support of these efforts, now is the time to do so! Visit our Take Action webpage to engage in these efforts today!
By Michelle McCurdy, Mother of a Charter School Student at Altamira Academy
When considering Kindergarten for my daughter, Meredith, I researched every option to find the best school to meet her needs. I eventually selected Altamira Academy, one of three elementary campuses in the Wayside Schools. I chose a public charter school, and more specifically Altamira Academy, for various reasons including the year-round schedule, an international baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, an unwavering commitment to small class sizes, a generally smaller student population, and a required uniform.
Meredith is now a first-grader, and she’s thriving in her classes. I couldn't be happier with our choice of a public charter school.
A few weeks ago, I had an amazing opportunity to join other parents in meeting with state legislators about our experiences with our children attending public charter schools. We discussed exercising our option within public education.
It was one of those roller coaster kind of days. I was filled with sorrow as I recounted the struggle and anxiety that surrounded our efforts to find the best school fit for my child as an individual, and for all of us as a family. I was filled with gratitude and pride as I told the legislators about our joy at finding a school that met so many of our needs.
But I was also filled with anger as I talked about the sacrifices our campus makes every day--the things we give up or trade off. I asked someone to explain to me why my child deserved about $1400 less than my neighbor’s child, simply because I didn’t believe the traditional school in my zip code was a good fit for my daughter. I implored them to come to our charter campus and see the amazing things that are happening. At the end of the day, I felt galvanized. I feel compelled to advocate, not just for my own children, but for every filled-with-potential face I see at my daughter’s public charter school.
I hope you’ll feel compelled, too. We are at a historical crossroads, with companion bills, SB 457 and HB 2337, in the state House and Senate and bipartisan support. I want to thank the legislators who sponsored these bills, but I’m also asking for others at the Capitol to support it. Now is the time to stand up for our students and demand equity in funding. Call, write, visit your elected officials and let them know that choice shouldn’t mean compromise.
State Representatives Harold Dutton, Dwayne Bohac, Jodie Laubenberg, Eddie Lucio, III, and Ron Simmons have joined Senator Donna Campbell in taking the lead to narrow the funding gap for students attending a public charter school and those at traditional school districts. These joint authors filed HB 2337 as companion legislation to Senator Campbell’s SB 457 for charter schools facilities funding.
This is the first time in state history that companion legislation specific to facilities funding for public charter schools has been filed in both chambers of the Texas Legislature. The Texas Charter Schools Association and its member schools are elated at potential aid for the 250,000 students currently enrolled at a public charter school and the additional 141,000 students on a waiting list to attend one.
Both HB 2337 and SB 457 propose providing charter schools with $700 per student, which would put them on par with low-wealth school districts.
As a result of the lack of facilities funding, charter schools currently receive on average $1400 less per pupil as compared to other public schools. Charters must use their operational funds meant for student instruction, materials, and teacher salaries to also pay the rent or mortgage for classrooms.
Adding to the momentum, Governor Greg Abbot has specifically identified facilities funding for public charter schools in his budget proposal, which is also a first for a sitting governor of Texas.
Texas Charter Schools Association thanks Representatives Dutton, Bohac, Laubenberg, Lucio, and Simmons, as well as Senator Donna Campbell for their leadership in the Legislature and their commitment to ensuring that all Texas children have access to a high quality, free public education.
For the first time ever there is a bill filed in each chamber of the Texas Capitol that would provide much needed additional funding to public charter schools and their students. We previously reported Senator Donna Campbell filing SB 457. We now also have HB 1269 filed by Representative Jason Villalba.
Public charter schools are the fastest growing public school system in the state with student enrollment at 247,236, increasing at more than six times the rate of school districts per year. The demand from Texas families for a charter school seat is also growing with more than 141,000 students on a waiting list. Since charter schools receive zero in facilities funding they cannot meet families’ demand for a public charter school seat and they must use classroom dollars for bricks and mortar. Charter schools receive $1400 less per student on average than other public schools. Much of this gap can be attributed to the lack of facilities funding.
Rep. Villalba’s HB 1269 works to close the funding gap between public schools by providing all public charter schools with an additional, estimated $280 per student. Further, if the school achieves a certain academic performance level, it is eligible to receive further supplemental funding. Should the public charter school choose the supplemental funding, the public charter school may only expel a student for a reason expressly allowed in law and must provide a disciplinary alternative education program or juvenile justice alternative education program, as applicable.
HB 1269 also proposes to amend the law regarding the notification of a new charter school campus. It limits the required notification to a three-mile radius of the address or intersection at which the proposed charter school is likely to be located. Further, it would implement a second notification requirement: by the 30th day after the date on which property is acquired that is intended to serve as a public charter school, notice of the property’s address must be provided to the aforementioned three parties.
A final important highlight of HB 1269 is that it includes language geared towards facilitating public charter schools and school district partnerships. Such partnerships are not only wins for public charter schools and schools districts, but most importantly, for public school students.
With a funding bill in each chamber of the Texas Capitol, the momentum continues to grow to end the wait list as well as provide equal funding for public charter school students. The Texas Charter Schools Association appreciates Representative Jason Villalba for his support for public charter schools and we look forward to working with him to ensure all students have access to a quality public education!
Happy New Year!
As you all welcome your students and families back to school for the spring semester, TCSA welcomes back the Texas Legislature for the 85th Legislative Session. For 140 days, beginning on January 10th, our attention will turn towards Austin where our state’s lawmakers will deliberate various issues with significant implications for public education and specifically, public charter schools.
Nearly 250,000 students currently attend a public charter school. Alarmingly, our latest survey of wait-listed students indicates there are over 140,000 students waiting for a seat at a public charter school. The number of students who cannot attend a public charter school of their choice continues to grow year after year.
To address this ever-increasing demand, TCSA’s legislative priorities for this incoming legislative session focus on providing much needed resources to public charter school students, as well as providing an opportunity to expand public charter schools so that those wanting to attend have a seat. Our most significant legislative priority that would address both of these needs is to provide state funding for public charter school buildings. Charter schools receive zero state funds to support their facilities, meaning they must use funds intended for the classroom to pay their leases, their mortgages, etc. The lack of facilities funding is the biggest barrier to meeting families’ demand.
Though the legislative session has not yet started, two other significant issues for charter schools already have started the legislative race: Rep. Jim Murphy pre-filed HB 382 and HB 467. HB 382 would allow for an exemption from property taxes for a building leased by a charter school. HB 467 would increase the access of the Permanent School Fund Bond Guarantee Program (PSF) for public charter schools. Both of these bills have something in common: they would save literally millions of dollars of public funds that can be directed back into the classroom or used to grow classroom seats for waitlisted students. We thank Rep. Murphy for recognizing the need to support Texas families and their choice to attend a public charter school. We will call upon you throughout session to support Rep. Murphy as he works to get these two bills across the finish line.
To that end, we must have our supporters engaged throughout the entire legislative process. Today, sign up for action alerts to receive alerts on pro-, as well as anti-, public charter school legislation.
It’s 140 days…ready…set…GO!