By Timothy Mattison, Ph.D., Director of Policy and Research
About 1,300 Texans serve on the governing boards of public charter schools, volunteering their time and talent so that students are well-positioned to succeed. Their experience enriches the way that charter schools — designed to be creative and flexible —operate each day. Public charter school boards of directors in Texas oversee school operations for over 300,000 students and manage over $3 billion in taxpayer revenue across the state every year. This role requires an understanding of the education profession as well as finance and governance matters in order to meet high financial, governing, education and operational standards set by the Commissioner of Education.
Texans expect public school boards to run their districts well and follow all state and federal laws when spending tax revenue to educate children. If school board members underperform or break the law, they are accountable to taxpayers.
Taxpayers hold traditional district school board members accountable through elections every three to four years. In major metropolitan areas of Texas less than 3% of residents vote in traditional public school district board elections. Consequently, board members often represent the interests of a small minority of constituents and political influencers who have a disproportionate impact on these elections.
By contrast, taxpayers’ elected governor, who is elected by the broader public, holds public charter school boards accountable continuously through his education commissioner.
To ensure high levels of public trust Texas public charter school boards are: