28 Jan 2019 ~ The Texas State Board of Education passed a policy to hold public hearings and gather public comments on charter expansions.
Commissioner of Education, Michael Morath, is the sole authorizer of new charter campuses, while the TXSBOE has veto power. Note: The members of the TXSBOE are elected, the commissioner of education is appointed. Commissioner Morath has approved 400 new charter campuses in the last six years. The Texas Association of School Administrators sent this letter to Commissioner Morath stating concerns, such as the rapid growth of charters, lack of public input, and no local community accountability.
Before the TXSBOE policy, the only notice the public received was after the expansion campus had been approved. Charters and charter expansions were only required to share an impact analysis, which they create, with the Board of Trustees of the Independent School District in which the charter will exist.
The use of taxpayer dollars allocated for public education is subject to public input, i.e., Democracy. Unlike our ISD's, many charters and their out of town, appointed boards do not hold monthly public meetings. Our new policy takes a considerable step closer to creating a level playing field, giving the local community an opportunity to weigh in on whether a new charter campus is in their best interest.
The policy passed unanimously.