April 2014 Committee on School Initiatives Item 10

Consideration of Funds for Charter School Fact Finding Trips

April 11, 2014


This item provides an opportunity for the committee and board to consider proposed receipt of funds from a foundation for the purpose of visiting charter schools operating out of state. The proposed item would create a process for allowing board members to use monies donated by a foundation to conduct onsite visits of charter applicants.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §7.102(c)(3).

BOARD RESPONSE: This item is presented for review, comment, and action.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES: The State Board of Education is delegated, by statute, the power to accept a gift, donation, or other contribution on behalf of the public school system or agency and, unless otherwise specified by the donor, may use the contribution in the manner the board determines.

Senate Bill (SB) 2, 83rd Texas Legislature, 2013, granted the commissioner of education the authority to approve the annual charter school governance reporting form and optional charter provisions for purchasing and contracting, as well as to establish and approve the contents of the request for application and the criteria by which charter schools would be awarded. Additionally, SB 2 gave the commissioner the authority to award up to 305 open-enrollment charters on a graduated basis by the year 2019 to eligible entities that: are considered capable of carrying out the responsibilities of the charter, are likely to operate a school of high quality, have been nominated by the commissioner, and are not rejected by a majority of members of the board present and voting. SB 2 specifies that a member of the SBOE designated by the chair will work in coordination with the commissioner to investigate and evaluate charter applicant(s). TEC, §12.101 gives the SBOE the authority to veto or take no action on the charter(s) the commissioner of education has recommended for award.

The board and its committees must comply with the Texas Open Meetings Act, including holding all meetings of a quorum within the state.  Policies will be needed to enable the board to determine from what categories of potential donors funds may be accepted, which applicants should be paid an on-site visit and which board member will be authorized to make such visits.

FISCAL IMPACT:  The Texas Education Agency has determined that there are no additional costs to persons or entities required to comply with the proposed revisions. In addition, there is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses and microbusinesses; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.

PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: Open-enrollment charter schools provide avenues for local restructuring, flexibility, innovation, and choice for parents and students. Additionally new applications should deliver on quality choices for students and parents. 

PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: The proposed activity would have no procedural and reporting requirements.

LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: The proposed activity would have no new locally maintained paperwork requirements.




Staff Members Responsible:
Michael Berry, Deputy Commissioner
Policy and Programs

Sally Partridge, Associate Commissioner
Accreditation and School Improvement

Heather Mauzé, Director
Charter School Administration