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For Immediate Release:2014-05-08
Press Contact: Tracy Young
phone: 512.584.8272
email: tyoung@txcharterschools.org

Rep. Jim Murphy visits KIPP SHARP in Houston

Receives Charter Appreciation Award; Dallas charter is first to have PSF backing

(Houston, Texas) Texas House Representative Jim Murphy (District 133) visited KIPP SHARP Lower School in Southwest Houston today during National Charter Schools Week.  Rep. Murphy was presented with the Texas Charter Schools Association Charter Appreciation Award, in recognition of his support and efforts on behalf of public charter school students during the 83rd Legislature, and specifically his bill, House Bill 885, which extends the permanent school fund (PSF) bond guarantee to qualified public charter schools for refinanced bonds achieving lower interest rates for charter schools and returning funds to be used for instructional purposes in the classroom. 

"On behalf of charter students, parents and operators, we thank Rep. Murphy for his work on HB 885. He understands that Texas students deserve an adequate school building - no matter where they choose to attend public school," said David Dunn, executive director of the Texas Charter Schools Association. "His work on behalf of charter students and their schools allows immense savings for eligible charter schools by reducing the cost of bond financing. Through improved investment grade ratings, millions of dollars over the life of a charter school construction or renovation project can be redirected to the classroom."

HB 885 passed the House (139 Yeas, 1 Nay) and Texas Senate (29 ayes, 1 nay) during the 2013 legislative session and was signed by the Governor. HB 885 built on legislation passed in 2011, to extend the permanent school fund (PSF) bond guarantee to qualified public charter schools. Once required IRS approval was granted, the Texas Education Agency and the State Board of Education acted quickly in early 2014 to approve rules necessary for charters to receive the backing of the PSF bond guarantee. 

Last week, Life School, a public charter school in Dallas, became the first charter to receive the backing of the PSF bond guarantee.  Life School received a BBB-minus rating from Standard & Poor's, and then the school's new and refinanced bonds received the enhanced rating of AAA through the Permanent School Fund that backs bonds issued by public schools in Texas.

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Public charter schools are tuition-free, open-enrollment public schools that have the flexibility to adapt to the educational needs of individual students while still held to state academic and financial accountability standards.  In total, there are more than 178,000 students in over 550 open-enrollment charter campuses (2013 AskTED) with nearly 101,000 students on waiting lists across Texas (2013 survey).  Charter students represent close to 4% of the public school population in Texas.
Visit www.txcharterschools.org for more info.