TEA News Releases Online
Sept. 21, 2012
Texas announced charter school assistance initiative
AUSTIN - The Texas Education Agency is teaming up with the Region 11 Education Service Center in Fort Worth and the Texas Charter Schools Association to create an extensive support system for the state’s charter schools.
The three entities have formed the Texas Charter School Technical Assistance Network.
“This partnership will allow us all to bring more training and technical support to charters than ever before. By working together to help the schools get set up and maintained properly, charter school officials can focus their energies on academics and innovative education approaches,” said Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams.
TCSA Executive Director David Dunn said, “The Texas Charter Schools Association is committed to increasing the quality of our state’s charter schools. We know our training and resources uniquely tailored to public charter schools are making a difference; and we are excited to partner with TEA and Region 11 to reach out through this technical assistance network and help raise the effectiveness of charters for students in Texas.”
Clyde Steelman, executive director of the Region 11 Education Service Center, said, “We’re excited that we have been selected. We have a long history of working with charters.” Steelman noted that the service center and TCSA have worked together well before.
The two partners were selected by TEA through a competitive application process. Both vendors have experience working with charter schools.
As part of the network, Region 11 will host a telephone and email support center to assist charters. It will work with new charter schools and those non-profit groups that have been awarded charters but have not yet opened their schools. It will provide on-site technical support, as well as training for board members and officers.
TCSA will provide comprehensive support to all charter schools. It will provide training webinars on fiscal matters, academic issues and data analysis. The webinars will also be recorded so that the information can be reviewed as a refresher course or when new employees are hired. Additionally, the association will offer intensive budget training.
TCSA and TEA will work together to provide orientation sessions for those interested in submitting a charter application and for those groups that have just been awarded a charter. The association will also oversee recruitment and training for reviewers who score charter applications.
The Texas Education Agency will continue to administer the charter application process on behalf of the State Board of Education. It will continue to administer the charter renewal and amendment process for the commissioner of education. Its other duties include processing and investigating complaints about charter schools and directing the federal Public Charter School Grant Program administered by the United States Department of Education.
There are currently 201 state sanctioned charter holders in Texas. There are 14 spots available for new open-enrollment charter schools. State law caps the number of open-enrollment charters at 215.
Along with creating the technical assistance network, TEA recently began posting charter applications online to make them easily accessible to the public. The applications for those charter schools that were awarded a state contract are posted for Generations 7 (2001) through 15 (2010).
Beginning with Generation 16 (2011), any submitted charter application, whether the entity was granted a charter by the State Board of Education or not, is posted. Also posted are all applications for Generation 17, which the State Board of Education will consider for approval in November.
Awarded applications for Generations 1 through 6 will be posted at a future date.