At the invitation of Austin ISD, the Ann Richards School has begun an exploratory process to examine whether a shift toward an in-district charter under new legislation would be beneficial for our students, the school, and the district. This is strictly an exploratory process and no decisions have been made at this time. Any future decisions will be made in the best interest of our students.
This process is centered around new legislation, Senate Bill 1882, that provides incentives for both schools and districts to explore this possibility.
These FAQs provide additional information about SB 1882. We appreciate your continued support of the Ann Richards School.
In 2017, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 1882, which grants additional funding to school districts that agree to work collaboratively with nonprofit partners. These new partnerships offer districts the opportunity to expand school options, bring in targeted expertise for innovation and support, and empower schools with greater autonomy.
According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), “Each partnered campus that meets eligibility requirements is entitled to receive for each student…the greater of either the amount of state funding to which the district would be entitled or the amount of state funding to which an open- enrollment charter school would be entitled.”
ARS has decided to explore this idea at the invitation of AISD. Both the school and the district could potentially benefit from an SB 1882 in-district charter school arrangement. Any future decisions will be made in the best interest of our students.
ARS is not the first school in AISD to explore this possibility. In 2017/2018, Mainspring Schools and the T-STEM Coalition applied to the TEA for such a partnership. And Travis Heights Elementary School, an AISD public school, became an in-district charter school in 2012 after a unanimous vote by the school board.
In addition, ARS is one of nine schools that are part of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN), and YWPN has entered into partnership with San Antonio ISD and Midland ISD to lead the innovative work at the San Antonio Young Women’s Leadership Academy Secondary and Primary campuses and at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Midland.
The Ann Richards School Foundation’s mission is to secure sustainable resources and build effective partnerships to advance the mission of the Ann Richards School and the success of its students and alumnae. That mission will remain the same, regardless of the operational model of the school.
An operational model decision by the school falls outside of the Foundation’s purview, but the Foundation Board will have insight on the exploratory process and continue to receive regular updates from school administrators.
The school will engage in a comprehensive exploratory process to assess whether a shift would benefit our students. School administration will hold open house, community meetings, faculty/staff, and student and family meetings to gather input, and continue conversations with AISD. It will evaluate other schools throughout the state that have already engaged in an SB 1882 shift to become an in-district charter school. It will also explore potential partnerships with organizations that could be possible charter holders.
Austin ISD has set the following schedule for the 1882 exploration process:
- 9/25 – interested schools submit non-binding letters of interest to AISD
- 11/1 – interested schools will have completed requisite meetings with relevant stakeholder groups (open house, community, staff, Campus Advisory Council meetings); Local Campus Partnership Applications due
- 12/1 – 1182 Benefit Application and Performance Agreement due, pending Partnership Application approval;
Austin ISD’s “request for partnerships” is seeking innovative partners for the 2020-2021 or 2021-2022 school year. No timeline has been set for the Ann Richards School becoming an in-district charter, and timing is one factor that will be part of the exploratory process.
When considering a school partnership, the district will seek mission-aligned nonprofit organizations with a strong track record of success. For example, an International Baccalaureate (IB) school might consider partnering with an organization that specializes in supporting IB schools. A school wanting to elevate its fine arts program might partner with a local arts organization that could offer professional artistic expertise for students and teachers.
ARS is considering the Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN) as a nonprofit partner. YWPN provided the seed funding to start ARS, and today ARS is one of nine schools that are part of YWPN. YWPN has entered into partnership with San Antonio ISD and Midland ISD to lead the innovative work at the San Antonio Young Women’s Leadership Academy Secondary and Primary campuses and at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Midland.
After extensive vetting by district and campus staff and authentic dialogue with the school’s community, the ISD Board will approve a management agreement that authorizes the nonprofit partner to co-manage the school with the district. In order to become an official 1882 partnership and qualify for increased state funding, the ISD and the partner must apply to and be approved by the Texas Education Agency.
Partnership schools that are approved by the Texas Education Agency will receive increased state funding, estimated at $1,000 per student on an annual basis. For example, a school with 500 students may be eligible for $500,000 in additional funds annually. In addition, the school will receive support from a mission-aligned organization with expertise in whatever the school needs to be successful, whether it be academic coaching, professional development, new student learning opportunities, or fundraising support.
The partner organization will create an 1882 governing board comprised of community stakeholders and business professionals with the experience and passion necessary to empower the school to achieve its goals. The governing board will be involved in selecting and evaluating the school’s principal and will collaborate with the campus in selecting staff, the curriculum, school calendar, and student assessments. The district will hold the partner accountable for strong academic and financial performance through a board-approved performance contract and regular monitoring by district staff.
If ARS formed an 1882 partnership, then ARS teachers would remain Austin ISD employees, and remain part of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). All enrollment procedures would remain the same.
SB 1882 partnerships ultimately exist to improve student outcomes, so partnership agreements are written to ensure strong accountability and give the district the flexibility to end the partnership if it’s not benefiting students and staff. The ISD board will authorize partnerships for a specified term, along with performance reviews as delineated in the Partnership Agreement. If a performance evaluation during a review cycle shows that the partner is not meeting the district’s academic and operational expectations, the district may end the partnership or place the partner on probation. In addition, the district can end the partnership if the partner does not follow the terms of the agreement.
The role of the nonprofit governing board is to support the school with whatever the school needs to be successful, whether it be matters pertaining to academic coaching, professional development, or new student learning opportunities. The board will act on decisions in collaboration with the nonprofit organization’s staff and in accordance with the school’s charter. The board will meet quarterly and will be comprised of community stakeholders and professionals with specific expertise that is aligned to the programs and strategies described in the charter.
Additionally, the nonprofit partner and school leadership team may decide to bring expertise to the governing board from other industries such as law, engineering, higher education, communications, etc. The nonprofit governing board will serve as advisors and strategic thought partners for the nonprofit staff and the school leadership team. In addition, the governing board will approve the annual budget for the school and ensure that all performance measures are met and that the autonomies granted in the Partnership Agreement with the District are protected. An Executive Director or Chief Operations Officer will be appointed by the partner to oversee program implementation and support the campus principal and staff in meeting their goals. The ED/COO will also conduct the annual appraisal of the principal. This governing board is held accountable for campus performance by the school district and its Board of Trustees.
The nonprofit governing board will also collaborate with the campus leadership team in assessing and refining recommendations pertaining to the curriculum, school calendar, programming, and professional development opportunities provided for the campus.