This time of year is appropriately labeled the holiday season, and of course for all of you hunters it’s also deer season. As the new calendar year approaches, for those of us in the charter world, we’ll soon be entering expansion season! Expanding your school is a great way to increase your capacity to serve students, but since it involves a modification of your charter, state rules require that you meet certain guidelines and follow the procedures set out in 19 TAC §100.1033 (b)(9) and §100.1033 (b)(10).

Essentially, expansion amendments permit you to do any combination of five things, including:
• Extending the grade levels served by the school;
• Adding an additional campus;
• Adding an additional site;
• Changing the charter’s geographic boundaries; or
• Increasing the maximum allowable enrollment.

The process for informing the state of your intentions to do any of these things is fairly straightforward, but there are certain requirements that must be met before an expansion amendment can be submitted and ultimately approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

First, expansion amendments may only be submitted for a school after the beginning of its fourth year of operation, unless the school is operated by a charter holder with more than one campus and all of its campuses including the school affected are rated academically acceptable or higher. In addition, for any expansion, 90 percent of the campuses operated under the charter must have been rated academically acceptable or higher in the most recent accountability ratings.

Second, expansion amendments can only be submitted to TEA during a two-month window – after February 1st and no later than April 1st. Prior to submission, the charter holder is required to provide evidence (a certified mail receipt) that a notice of the expansion amendment was sent to all of the districts in the charter holder’s current and requested geographic boundary. The purpose of the notice is to give affected districts an opportunity to submit a statement to TEA regarding the impact of the expansion amendment on the district.

Finally, expansion applicants must prepare and present to the charter board a detailed business plan per the elements outlined in 19 TAC §100.1033. This plan must be sent to TEA within 10 business days if requested to do so. Additional documentation required with the amendment include a board resolution approving the expansion and the business plan, a statement from the superintendent that all board members and staff meet the state requirements regarding nepotism and conflicts of interest as outlined in 19 TAC §100.1035, and a URL of the charter holder’s most current bylaws. Again, completing an expansion amendment is not overly complicated, but like all documents submitted to TEA, amendments and supporting material require all i’s dotted and all t’s crossed.

At TCSA, we’re committed to helping you cross the expansion finish line. With that, we are hosting a free two-hour webinar on Tuesday, January 10th appropriately titled “Creating and Submitting a Charter School Expansion Amendment.” Click here to register.

We look forward to you joining us for this free webinar on January 10th. And don’t let me forget to say “Seasons Greetings and a Happy Expansion Season!”

Contact me with questions about expanding your charter or this webinar.