TEA News Releases Online
March 10, 2010
Ninety-seven percent of Texas districts and charters
receive full accreditation status
AUSTIN – Almost 1,200 Texas school districts and charter schools earned full accreditation status from the Texas Education Agency today. However, one school district and three charter schools have been notified that their accreditation will be revoked and that they will no longer be able to operate as public schools after this school year.
The accreditation system examines both the financial and academic health of districts and charter schools. It also examines performance in other areas such as data reporting, special program effectiveness, and compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements. This is the third year that an accreditation status has been issued for school districts and the second year a status has been assigned to charter schools.
Commissioner of Education Robert Scott said 1,198 out of 1,232 districts and charters earned an Accredited status from TEA.
“An overwhelming majority of our Texas school districts and charters are providing strong academic instruction to students and are appropriately handling public funds,” Scott said.
Under the accreditation system, ratings of Accredited, Accredited-Warned, Accredited-Probation or Not Accredited-Revoked are issued. The status of a district or charter can be listed as pending if an investigation is under way.
Most of Texas districts and charters achieved full accreditation status. That is because they earned a rating of Academically Acceptable or higher in the state’s academic accountability system and a Superior Achievement or Above Standard Achievement in the state’s financial accountability system, which is called School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) for traditional districts.
Twenty districts or charters received a status below the Accredited level, including four that have been notified that they are losing their state accreditation. The accreditation status of 14 entities was left pending because of ongoing investigative activities.
The Kendleton Independent School District, Jean Massieu Academy in Arlington, Alphonso Crutch’s Life Support Center in Houston and Texas Preparatory School in San Marcos have been notified that their state accreditation will be revoked because of substandard academic and/or financial ratings, and are expected to close effective July 1, 2010. Alphonso Crutch is not currently operating.
This is the first time a district or charter has lost its status as a public school under the accreditation system implemented in 2006 under new legislative requirements. A district or charter with accreditation status of Not Accredited: Revoked may challenge this decision through a process provided by the 2006 legislation.
“This is an extremely serious step and it is not one that this agency takes lightly. Each of these districts or charters has exhibited years of extremely poor academic performance and/or ongoing financial problems. Children and taxpayers deserve better,” Scott said.
Additionally, 11 school districts or charter schools earned an Accredited – Warned status, which is one step below full accreditation, because they either:
• were rated Academically Unacceptable in 2008 and 2009;
• received a Substandard Achievement or Suspended – Data Quality rating in the financial accountability system in 2008 and 2009; or
• had one year of poor ratings in both the state academic accountability system and the financial accountability system.
Two school districts – Mullin and Marathon – and three charter schools – Northwest Preparatory in Houston, Houston Alternative Preparatory Charter School and Metro Academy of Math and Science in Arlington – are assigned a status of Accredited – Probation.
They received this rating because they had poor academic and/or financial ratings in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
If any of these entities earn additional substandard ratings next year, they could earn a status of Not Accredited – Revoked.
“These five districts and charter schools must take decisive and effective action to turn this dire situation around,” Scott said.
TEA has not yet assigned an accreditation status to three school districts and 11 charter schools, due to ongoing investigations that might affect the status assigned. In these instances, the accreditation status is reported as being withheld pending a final determination.
The status of each district and charter can be found at: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/accredstatus/.
The education commissioner has broad authority to impose an array of sanctions against any charter school or district that received an Accredited – Warned or Accredited – Probation status. Along with taking the corrective actions already required under the state academic or financial accountability systems, the district or charter must notify students’ parents and property owners in their area of the lowered accreditation status.
The commissioner will review actions already under way to correct deficiencies before deciding whether to impose additional sanctions. Other sanctions can include assigning a monitor or conservator to assist the district or charter school.
Additional information about the accreditation system is available at: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter097/ch097ee.html.