Texas will shut down campuses at six charter schools under a new law that includes heightened financial and academic performance rules for charter operators in the state.
During the 2013 legislative session, the strengthened closure rules were a selling point for lawmakers who had otherwise opposed legislation that expanded the number of charter contracts the state can award. A provision in the new law requires the Texas Education Agency to revoke a school's charter if it failed to meet state academic or financial accountability ratings for three years.
“Extraordinary charter schools greatly outnumber the struggling charter schools, but the strugglers receive more media attention," David Dunn, the executive director of the Texas Association of Charter Schools, said in a statement. "We are working hard to improve every charter school and will keep advocating for excellence and quality because students deserve it. Texas is, and will continue to be, a leader in public charter schools across the nation precisely because we insist upon quality.”
Dunn said his organization supported shuttering schools that "aren't meeting the needs of students, whether charter or traditional."
Identified for closure under the law are American Youthworks in Austin; Azleway Charter School in Tyler; Honors Academy in Farmers Branch; and Jamie's House Charter School, Koinonia Community Learning Academy, and the Richard Milburn Academy in Houston. Several of the schools — including American Youthworks, Azleway and the Richard Milburn Academy — focus on serving troubled youth or high school dropouts.
The schools cannot appeal the decision in court, but they may request an informal review that could lead to a reversal of the revocation.