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

  • Charters and ISDs both receive a basic allotment of $6,160 per ADA.
  • Charters are not entitled to the following:
    1. Sparsity Adjustment - to address issues with economies of scale in ISDs with sparse student populations
    2. Fast Growth Allotment - additional .04 weight per ADA for ISDs in which the growth in student enrollment over preceding 3 years is in the top quartile of student enrollment growth for that period statewide
    3. Tier Two Allotment
  • Charters have access to the “Formula Transition Grant,” which compensates for decreases in M&O funding from 2018-2019 onward for four years.
  • Charters are entitled to the following:
  1. Small and Midsize Allotment.
    • All charters will receive this allotment. TEA will use the following formula to calculate the allotment per student in ADA:2019-06-26_1607
  1. College, Career, and Military Readiness Outcomes Bonus
    • Bonus for each graduate deemed to be “college, career, or military ready” above the 25th percentile of districts statewide in the ‘16-17 SY, as measured by proficiency and college enrollment, career certification, or military enlistment. The 25th percentile threshold will remain static. The ‘16-17 25th percentile rate is unknown/has not yet been calculated; most recent statewide average (‘16-17) is 54.2% of students meeting college, career, or military readiness proficiency standards (does not include college enrollment).
    • Amounts:
      • $5,000 for eco. dis. graduates
      • $3,000 for non-eco. dis. graduates
      • $2,000 if graduate is enrolled in a special education program under Subchapter A, Chapter 29
  1. Teacher Incentive Allotment (outlined below)
  2. Transportation Allotment
    • Changed from linear density model to simple $1/mile reimbursement
  3. New Instructional Facility Allotment
    • Cap is increased from $25 million to $100 million
  4. Dropout Recovery and Residential Treatment Center (RTC) Allotment
    • $275 per ADA for each student residing in an RTC or who attends a district or district campus designated as a dropout recovery school under Section 39.0458
  5. Reimbursement for Optional College Preparation Assessments
    • 1 exam per student per academic year in 8th (preliminary college preparation assessment), 10th (preliminary college preparation assessment), and either 11th or 12th (college preparation assessment)
    • Assessment must be valid, reliable, nationally norm-referenced and used by colleges and universities as part of admissions process; OR the assessment instrument selected by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board under Sec. 51.334
  6. Certification Examination Reimbursement
    • Districts are reimbursed for the cost of the certification exam for students enrolled in career/tech program, under Sec. 29.190(a) as provided by Sec. 29.190(c)
  7. Incentive for Additional Instructional Days
    • 30 instructional days paid at half-day ADA
    • Requirement for those minutes and when during the school-year (summer is likely) the instructional days can be offered will be determined by TEA rule-making
  8. Special Education Allotment
    • Increases the weight applied to the mainstream instructional arrangement of the special education allotment from 1.1 to 1.15.
  9. Dyslexia Allotment
    • .1 weight
  10. Compensatory Education Allotment
    • Weights are increased and range from .225 to .275
    • Funding will be determined by severity of disadvantage based on a five-tier spectrum of poverty determined by census blocks (based on student address). Census blocks are typically smaller (between 600 and 3,000 people, typically) than zip codes and may cut across zip codes.
    • Commissioner creating advisory committee to help determine tiers.
    • Charters must assign students to census block group using TEA resources to determine the severity of economic disadvantage.
    • Compensatory education funding can be used as it always was, but it can also now be used to provide child care services for the children of students at risk of dropping out and for life skills programs.
  11. Bilingual Education Allotment
    • Retains existing Bilingual Allotment and provides an additional 0.05 weight to students in a dual language immersion (one-way or two-way) program model. Intended to incentivize dual language.
    • Any bilingual education funds the Commissioner determines were misused will be deducted from a school/district’s foundation school program funding for the following year.
  12. Career and Technology Education Allotment
    • Expands eligibility to grades 7 and 8
  13. Early Education Allotment
    • Additional .1 weight for each comp. ed. student in Gr. K-3
    • Additional .1 weight for each ELL student in Gr. K-3
    • (Therefore, .2 weight for each student who is both ELL and comp. ed.)
    • Must be used to improve literacy and mathematics outcomes for students in grades Pre-K 3 -- this allotment is intended to be enough to cover the cost of the new full-day pre-k 4 requirement
  14. Blended Learning Grant Program
    • $6M state allocation. Amount per grant is TBD based on number of quality applicants. Agency assumes $250k average grant to 24 districts.
    • Grant is for pilot program that starts with at least all teachers in a grade level on one campus using blended learning for all students; to be scaled up across campus(es) in subsequent years. Additional program requirements will be released by TEA.
  15. Mentor Program Allotment (outlined below)

Educator Pay and Other Regulations

  • Charters may create a “Local Optional Teacher Designation System,” rating teachers as Master, Exemplary or Recognized. The rating is based on appraisals and lasts for up to five years. Districts are not required to use student achievement data (standardized test data), but can use that data in determining teacher ratings.
    1. The Commissioner is currently validity standards for these designation systems and evaluate them.
    2. Commissioner is creating Advisory Committee to assist with implementation.
    3. Schools must have a teacher designation system to access the Teacher Incentive Bonus, and it must be approved by TEA.
    4. TEA will have an application charters will need to fill out with a plan outlining their designation system. TEA will expect charters to have a rubric to appraise and designate their teachers as Master, Exemplary or Recognized. See the T-TESS rubric that 90% of ISDs use at https://www.teachfortexas.org/. TEA will expect something similar to the T-TESS rubric in charter applications for local designation systems.
    5. There is no target date yet for the release of this application.
    6. Charters could use existing designation system. TEA will review each charter’s designation system when they submit an application.
    7. TEA will judge the charter’s designation system based on how consistent teacher ratings would be compared to other designation systems in the state. TEA’s main objective is to ensure fair ratings, i.e. that the same teacher would not be rated lower in an ISD versus a charter, or vice versa.
  • The “Teacher Incentive Allotment” is available to any school in Texas that adopts the teacher designation system (in HB 3).
    1. Bonuses have a base level of $5K (master), $3K (exemplary), and $1.5K (recognized) and increase based on level of student need (for rural schools and compensatory education).
    2. To determine the additional amount above the base bonus, the base is multiplied by the average point value for all students taught by that teacher, with a point value of 0 for a non-eco. dis. student and point values of .5, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 (from least to most severe economic disadvantage) determined by the census block of the student’s home address
    3. TEA will determine economic disadvantage by census block group of students. The allotment is larger for rural campuses with a higher percentage of economically disadvantaged students.
    4. The bonuses are only available to state-certified teachers, and those a school has designated as master, exemplary or recognized.
  • A “Mentor Teacher Allotment”
    1. Is available to charters that have implemented a mentoring program for teachers who have less than two years of teaching experience under Section 21.458.
    2. The Commissioner will create a formula for the funding, which is to be used for mentor teacher stipends.
    3. Schools receiving the allotment must provide mentor teachers and their mentees release time to engage in mentoring activities.
  • Charters must use set aside 30% of the increase in the total state aid per student they get in 2019-2020, compared to the total state aid per student they received in 2018-2019. 75% of this 30% must be used to increase compensation to teachers, full-time librarians, full-time counselors and full-time nurses. Charters must differentiate these pay increases for teachers with more than 5 years of experience. TEA recently released guidance on this requirement, which can be found here: https://tea.texas.gov/hb3/. Charters must make 6.8% contributions to TRS on every dollar of salary above the state statutory minimum for every full-time teacher, counselor, librarian and nurse. The state minimum salary schedule has been adjusted and can be found here: https://tea.texas.gov/hb3/
  • Charters are now subject to Chapter 554 of the Government Code, the “Whistleblower Act,” which provides protections to employees for reporting violations of the law.
  • If charters fail to discharge or hire employees prohibited under 12.0271, they will be in violation of their charter. Charters must confirm that their employees are not on a do-not-hire registry under Section 22.0832.
  • Charter principals must report educator misconduct to their superintendents, and superintendents must notify the Commissioner of this misconduct. This conduct includes the following: child abuse as defined in Section 261.101 of the Family Code; romantic relationships with, or solicitation of or engagement in sexual contact with a student or minor; or any other unlawful act with a child. However, educators are entitled to a hearing related to alleged misconduct to determine whether the misconduct actually occurred.

Academic Regulations/Requirements

  • Charters must create Early Childhood Literacy and Mathematics Proficiency Plans & College, Career and Military Readiness Plans.
    1. The board of trustees of each school district shall adopt and post on the district’s Internet website early childhood literacy and mathematics proficiency plans that set specific annual quantifiable goals for performance in reading and mathematics at each campus.
    2. The plans must also outline any professional development targeted to help teachers meet their proficiency goals.
  • Charters must administer a kindergarten reading instrument and a 1st-2nd grade reading instrument from a list approved by the Commissioner or by a district-level committee. They must administer the instrument according to the Commissioner’s recommendations. Student performance must be reported to the student’s parent/guardian within 60 calendar days; and annually to the Commissioner. At least one instrument per grade level (PK, K, 1, 2) will be made available at no cost to district. This section subject to rule-making by the Commissioner.
  • Charters must use a direct instruction and phonics curriculum for grades kindergarten through 3. This section subject to rule-making by the Commissioner.
  • All K-3 teachers must have attended a Teacher Literacy Achievement Academy by school year 21-22. Principals in schools with grades K-3 must also attend the Academy. These Academies have historically been run by Education Service Centers; however, there is precedent for individual LEAs applying to run their own.
  • Charters must prioritize placement of highly effective teachers in grades K-2. Charters must administer reading development and comprehension instruments for Kindergarten through the 3rd
  • Charter high school students must complete a FAFSA application as a part of their graduation requirements, unless their parent/guardian signs a form declining it.
  • Charters will have access to tools to help them implement bilingual and special language programs.

Pre-K

  • If a charter district offers Pre-K, then Pre-k for eligible 4-year-olds must be full-day by SY 2021-22. Pre-k for 3-year-olds can remain half-day. The number of minutes that qualify as full-day will be determined by TEA through rulemaking.
    1. Pre-k funding is still half of ADA for each Pre-k student
    2. Additional funds to cover costs of mandate for full-day are expected to come from the Early Learning allotment
  • Districts that do not currently offer Pre-K do not have to start offering Pre-K; districts that already offer Pre-K do not have to continue offering it.
  • Pre-k for 4-year-olds must comply with high-quality program standards from TEA: https://tea.texas.gov/Academics/Early_Childhood_Education/High-Quality_Prekindergarten_Program/
    1. Requirements include: use curriculum meeting TEA’s Pre-k guidelines; measure student progress and learning outcomes; aim for 1:11 student to teacher ratio; not use any Common Core material or standards; have teachers that are certified and have at least 1 of 5 other possible credentials listed under 29.167 of Texas Education Code
    2. Charters must test Pre-k students with an assessment instrument approved by TEA. Charters will also need to report specific information on Pre-k programs to TEA.
  • Charters are entitled to an exemption from any part of the new Pre-k law if the charter applies for the waiver and (a) the charter would be required to construction classroom space to meet the requirements, or (b) implementation would result in “fewer eligible children being enrolled.” Charters must first conduct a public meeting and consider partnerships with public and private entities to offer Pre-k before requesting a waiver. Waivers cannot exceed 3 school years, subject to one renewal (max = 6 years)
  • Charters cannot simply issue bonds to fund new Pre-k facilities. They first have to consider partnering with other public and private entities (listed in statute are providers eligible).

Other Non-HB 3 Bills with Impacts on Charters

  • Senate Bill 2293 creates a common charter school admission application form. TEA will create the form online. Families will need to fill out applications for charter schools using this form. SB 2293 also requires the charter holders to submit waitlist data to TEA, not later than the last Friday in October of each school year. Charters must submit data on the following: 1) the number of students enrolled; 2) the enrollment capacity; 3) the total number of students on the waiting list; 4) the number of students on the waiting list disaggregated by grade level; 5) the information described aggregated for all campuses operating under the charter holder's charter; and 6) any information required by the commissioner.
  • House Bill 3007 requires TEA to provide each school district a copy of the source data submitted to the agency by entities other than the district that the agency considers in the district’s accreditation status or performance ratings.
  • House Bill 391 requires schools to provide instructional materials to students in printed format if the student does not have reliable access to technology at home.
  • House Bill 2348 prohibits employers from terminating, suspending, or otherwise discriminating against an employee who is a volunteer emergency responder and who is absent from or late to work because they are responding to a declared disaster in their capacity as a volunteer emergency responder.
  • House Bill 4258 gives the attorney general sole authority to review the record of public notice and hearings relating to any bond financing an educational facility for an authorized charter school. The attorney general will also have the ability to issue approvals for the tax-exempt status of the bond issuance.

 

Thanks to you, public charter schools in Texas had a very good legislative session! 

Here’s the good news: 

  • More funding for public schools—including charter schools! House Bill 3 provides charter schools with an average increase of $767 per student, which means raises for teachers and more money for the classroom.
  • Improved student safety! House Bill 3871 will increase student and school staff safety by allowing public charter schools to receive school zone signs when they ask for one.
  • Charter school autonomy protected! Senate Bill 2293 makes sure that charter school leaders and teachers keep their ability to innovate and respond to student needs by keeping workplace rules under the direction of charter leaders.
  • Options for charter school teachers with children! House Bill 2190 will allow charter school teachers to send their students to the school where they work. This will help charter schools keep some of their best teachers in the classroom and give these parents more options for their child’s education.

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!

Starlee Coleman

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! 

You can read Jerry Lager’s testimony for the March 26th hearing here and Matthew Hansen’s testimony for the April 4th hearing here.

              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.

Senator Donna Campbell speaking at The Texas Charter School's Rally in 2017.

Speaking at TCSA Rally in '17.

###

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

 AMA_Crest (2)

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. 

Also, make our Bills to Watch page one of your web favorites so that you can check it on a regular basis. Lastly, make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter

It’s 140 days…ready…set…GO!

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