June 2019 Committee on School Initiatives Item 7

Consideration of the Commissioner of Education’s Generation 24 Open-Enrollment Charter School Proposals

June 14, 2019

COMMITTEE ON SCHOOL INITIATIVES: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION

SUMMARY:
This item provides the committee and board an opportunity to review and take action or no action on the commissioner’s list of proposed Subchapter D Open-Enrollment Charter Schools scheduled to open in the 2020-2021 school year. If awarded, the charters will have an initial five-year term with a July 31, 2025 contract end date.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §12.101.

TEC, §12.101 requires the commissioner of education to notify the State Board of Education (SBOE) of each charter he proposes to grant. The board may veto a recommendation but it may not add any additional charters to the list.

The full text of statutory citations can be found in the statutory authority section of this agenda.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION:
Annually within 90 days of the commissioner’s notification of his intent to grant charters, the SBOE has an opportunity to formally consider the commissioner’s proposals and to take action or take no action. At the June 2018 board meeting, the SBOE took into consideration the four applicants recommended by the commissioner of education for charter award. The SBOE voted to take no action on all four charter applicants: Reve Preparatory Charter School, (Houston); Bloom Academy Charter School, (Houston); Elementary School for Education Innovation, (Lubbock); and Promesa Academy Charter School, (San Antonio).

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: Texas Education Code, §12.101, amended by the 84th Texas Legislature Regular Session, 2015, grants 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 proposed by the commissioner, and are not vetoed by a majority of the members of the SBOE. Prior to the charter school award cycle, the commissioner adopted the Generation 24 Open-Enrollment Charter Application, Guidelines and Request for Applications, establishing the timeline and procedures for the application cycle, the contents of the application, and the criteria by which charter schools would be awarded to eligible entities. Generation 24 applications must have earned a cut score of 85% to be granted an interview.

Twenty-nine applications were submitted by the January 4, 2019 deadline, and after internal completion and plagiarism checks by Texas Education Agency staff, 25 applications advanced to Phase 1 (Education Plan) external review. The external reviewers, designated through a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process, scored the 25 applications for charter. Nine of the applications met the initial cut score of 85% to advance to Phase 2 (Financial/Operations/Governance) review. There were five additional applications eligible for clarification calls. Of those five, one application’s score was revised to meet the 85% threshold, and a total of 10 applications advanced to Phase 2. Pursuant to Phase 2 review, eight applications met the 85% cut score and advanced to the capacity interview. The commissioner’s designee conducted interviews along with agency representatives from Tuesday, May 21 through Thursday, May 23, 2019. State Board of Education members were invited to attend the interviews.

FISCAL IMPACT:
A fiscal implication would be likely for local school districts as a result of open-enrollment charters being authorized. A decrease in state revenue to local districts would occur as the result of students attending an open-enrollment charter school instead of a traditional district school.

PUBLIC BENEFIT AND COST TO PERSONS:
In accordance with the current statute, the approval of open-enrollment charters will provide new avenues for flexibility, innovation, local restructuring, and school choice options for parents and students. Charter schools are a public school choice option that enroll approximately 6% of our Texas public school students.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED:
The State Board of Education:

Review and take no action on the commissioner’s list of proposed Generation 24 Subchapter D Open-Enrollment Charter Schools scheduled to open in the 2020-2021 school year.

Staff Members Responsible:

Martin Winchester, Deputy Commissioner, Educator and Systems Support
Joe Siedlecki, Associate Commissioner, School Improvement, Innovation, and Charter Schools
Heather Mauzé, Director, Charter School Administration

Separate Exhibit: Commissioner of Education’s Generation 24 Open-Enrollment Charter Proposals
 
Note: The commissioner of education is proposing five Generation Twenty-Four charter schools to the State Board of Education (SBOE). The SBOE will take the proposals under consideration at their June 14th meeting of the full board. The five proposed charter schools are: Elevate Collegiate Charter School (Houston); Houston Classical Charter School (Houston); Royal Public Schools (Austin, Houston); San Antonio Preparatory Charter School (San Antonio); and The Gathering Place (San Antonio). If you wish to review the applications of the applicants, please visit the Charter School Portfolio page.