TCSA Legislative Priorities for Public Charter Schools: 84th Legislature

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The Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA), a nonprofit organization comprised of member schools, works to accelerate student achievement by improving & promoting a diverse set of effective and quality-driven public charter schools. The legislative priorities of Texas charter schools are essential to bring about increased quality in public education, to provide students with fair funding and to help students and families on waiting lists to find effective education options across Texas.

Download TCSA's Legislative Priorities.

LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES:

Fair Funding for Public Charter School Students: The Texas Legislature has provided a variety of options for students to receive education tailored to their needs. But, charter school students are given, on average, less instructional/operational funding per pupil than students who remain in traditional school districts, and charter schools are not eligible to receive funding from statewide programs for facilities like traditional districts do. Texas students deserve facilities funding—no matter where they choose to attend public school.

  • There is a $1,000 gap per student between funding for school districts and charters on average.
  • Close the funding gap between students who choose public charter schools and students in traditional ISD schools.


Access to Unused School District Facilities: To best use taxpayer funds, underutilized or unused school district facilities should be available for use by public charter schools.  

  • Allow public charter schools access to a list of ISD property or facilities closed, unused or underused and located within the charter school’s geographic boundary and allow right of first refusal for purchase, lease or use.
  • This allows public school facilities already paid for by the taxpayers to continue to be used as educational facilities.


Property Tax Relief: Facilities leased to public charter schools should be exempt from real property for the duration of the lease so the savings can be best used in the classroom.

  • This relief is already provided for traditional ISD schools and private schools.


Risk Pool Access: To ensure better planning and managed risk associated with civil liability, employee benefits, and workers’ comp in public charter schools.

  • This access is already provided for traditional ISD schools  as a protection for taxpayer dollars. 

Fulfilling the Promise:
The Importance of Quality Options & Putting Student Achievement First

Staying True to the Mission:
High Quality Public Charter Schools & Best Practices
Texas public charter schools had strong and extensive legislation passed last session; the first major rewrite of charter law in more than a decade. TCSA continues support for Senate Bill 2 and a focus on careful and thoughtful implementation of this charter law to ensure effective due process for charter schools, and an increase in quality schools.

In addition, TCSA supports continuation of staffing and governance flexibilities that remain for charters. Those freedoms are important differences which allow charters to succeed and discover what works for students.  

  • TCSA supports effective charter school authorizing with strong accountability. Only quality applicants should be allowed to receive a charter.
  • The 83rd Legislature passed an increase in the charter cap in Texas which is a small step toward  tackling the massive waiting lists, but a state-imposed cap is arbitrary and unnecessary when strong, quality authorizing is in place.

A Quality Education for All Students:
Charters as Partners
Public charter schools and traditional ISDs are beginning to work together to collaborate in areas of instruction, teacher training, and facilities use and to pilot other programs through the establishment of district charters and other partnerships.

Collaboration & Partnerships with ISDs:

  • True to the mission and statute creating charters: to share different and innovative                 learning methods and be an R&D arm in the  public school system.  
  • The Legislature should encourage more collaborations and sharing of best practices through incentives and increased flexibility for both traditional districts and public charter schools.