Aug 03 2014

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Charters look for loopholes

The Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) has come out in opposition to charter school operators for attempting to weaken state rules aimed at making them more accountable for their use of taxpayers’ money.

During a recent hearing at the Texas Education Agency a panel of charter operators and their supporters aired grievances about the rules, which they allege are too restrictive. TSTA President Noel Candelaria aired his organization’s response to these charges.

“Charter operators want to feed at the public trough without any real accountability, and they are trying to do an end run around Senate Bill 2,” he said.

Senate Bill 2 went into effect last year, with the intention of expanding the number of charters granted in Texas. There is a proviso in the bill, however, making charter operators responsible for financial practices and academic results.

“Every school that accepts state tax dollars should be subject to strict accountability standards,” said Candelaria.

The feeling in the TSTA is that the proposed accountability rules could be weakened by Education Commissioner Williams’ recent attempt to circumvent the State Board of Education move denying the Great Hearts charter chain a second charter to operate in Irving. Williams granted a campus to Irving as an “expansion” despite the fact Great Hearts has not yet opened its first Texas campus (in San Antonio,) meaning it has no track record as pertains to the Texas accountability system.

TEA will issue a public announcement on the new accountability laws through August 18.

ETR Staff Report

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