Students at Public Charter Schools Receive Facilities Funds for the First Time

Students at Public Charter Schools Receive Facilities Funds for the First Time

For Immediate Release: August 15, 2017

Contact: Christine Isett,
512-584-8272, x 311 or 703-220-7990

AUSTIN-Students at public charter schools will receive $60 million in direct support from the state for facilities funding. HB 21 is on its way to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk and if signed, goes into effect for the 2018-19 academic year.

“This is a historic win for families choosing a public charter school for their child,” said David Dunn, Executive Director of the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA). Dunn added, “HB 21 is a first step to closing the funding gap for the 273,000 students attending a public charter school in Texas and will help provide additional classroom seats for the 141,000 student on a charter waiting list.

We appreciate Governor Abbott adding school finance to the call for special session allowing for this momentous victory. We also thank Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Chairman Larry Taylor, and Chairman Dan Huberty’s leadership to ensure that Texans have more options within public education.”

When the Texas Legislature established public charter schools 1995, only operational funds were allotted to these campuses, resulting in a current funding gap of about $1400 less per student as compared to their ISD peers. Facilities funds provided by HB 21 will help provide relief to public charter schools by keeping instructional funds in the classroom for students, and fewer operational dollars going towards the rent or mortgage.

Only charters with an acceptable overall rating are eligible to access facilities funds under HB 21. This condition coupled with SB 2(83rd Legislative Session) make for stricter accountability requirements for charters as compared to other public schools. SB 2 mandates the automatic closure of a charter school after three consecutive years of failing to meet academic or financial standards. TCSA is committed to providing students with a quality public education and supports legislative efforts to ensure greater student outcomes.

Outcomes and achievement by students at Texas charters are receiving national attention, particularly with the recent findings by Stanford’s CREDO. The CREDO study identified that students attending a Texas charter school outperform their district peers and gain an additional 17 days of reading. Most notably, Hispanic charter students in poverty experience stronger reading and math growth than their ISD peers with an addition of about 34 days in both subjects.

Student achievement contributes to the significant enrollment growth at public charter schools which increases at a rate of 12 percent annually. Texas families want options within public education and the historic passage of HB 21 provides critical funding to public charter school students.