In accordance with this subchapter, the commissioner may grant a charter on the application of an eligible entity for an open-enrollment charter school to operate in a facility of a commercial or nonprofit entity, an eligible entity, or a school district, including a home-rule school district. In this subsection, “eligible entity” means:
a private or independent institution of higher education as defined under Section 61.003 (Definitions);
an organization that is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3), Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3)); or
a governmental entity.
After thoroughly investigating and evaluating an applicant, the commissioner, in coordination with a member of the State Board of Education designated for the purpose by the chair of the board, may grant a charter for an open-enrollment charter school only to an applicant that meets any financial, governing, educational, and operational standards adopted by the commissioner under this subchapter, that the commissioner determines is capable of carrying out the responsibilities provided by the charter and likely to operate a school of high quality, and that:
has not within the preceding 10 years had a charter under this chapter or a similar charter issued under the laws of another state surrendered under a settlement agreement, revoked, denied renewal, or returned; or
is not, under rules adopted by the commissioner, considered to be a corporate affiliate of or substantially related to an entity that has within the preceding 10 years had a charter under this chapter or a similar charter issued under the laws of another state surrendered under a settlement agreement, revoked, denied renewal, or returned.
The commissioner shall notify the State Board of Education of each charter the commissioner proposes to grant under this subchapter. Unless, before the 90th day after the date on which the board receives the notice from the commissioner, a majority of the members of the board present and voting vote against the grant of that charter, the commissioner’s proposal to grant the charter takes effect. The board may not deliberate or vote on any grant of a charter that is not proposed by the commissioner.
In granting charters for open-enrollment charter schools, the commissioner may not grant a total of more than:
215 charters through the fiscal year ending August 31, 2014;
225 charters beginning September 1, 2014;
240 charters beginning September 1, 2015;
255 charters beginning September 1, 2016;
270 charters beginning September 1, 2017; and
285 charters beginning September 1, 2018.
Beginning September 1, 2019, the total number of charters for open-enrollment charter schools that may be granted is 305 charters.
The commissioner may not grant more than one charter for an open-enrollment charter school to any charter holder. The commissioner may consolidate charters for an open-enrollment charter school held by multiple charter holders into a single charter held by a single charter holder with the written consent to the terms of consolidation by or at the request of each charter holder affected by the consolidation.
Notwithstanding Section 12.114 (Revision), approval of the commissioner under that section is not required for establishment of a new open-enrollment charter school campus if the requirements of this subsection are satisfied. A charter holder having an accreditation status of accredited and at least 50 percent of its student population in grades assessed under Subchapter B, Chapter 39 (Public School System Accountability), or at least 50 percent of the students in the grades assessed having been enrolled in the school for at least three school years may establish one or more new campuses under an existing charter held by the charter holder if:
the charter holder is currently evaluated under the standard accountability procedures for evaluation under Chapter 39 (Public School System Accountability) and received a district rating in the highest or second highest performance rating category under Subchapter C, Chapter 39 (Public School System Accountability), for three of the last five years with at least 75 percent of the campuses rated under the charter also receiving a rating in the highest or second highest performance rating category and with no campus with a rating in the lowest performance rating category in the most recent ratings;
the charter holder provides written notice to the commissioner of the establishment of any campus under this subsection in the time, manner, and form provided by rule of the commissioner; and
not later than the 60th day after the date the charter holder provides written notice under Subdivision (2), the commissioner does not provide written notice to the charter holder that the commissioner has determined that the charter holder does not satisfy the requirements of this section.
The initial term of a charter granted under this section is five years.
The commissioner shall adopt rules to modify criteria for granting a charter for an open-enrollment charter school under this section to the extent necessary to address changes in performance rating categories or in the financial accountability system under Chapter 39 (Public School System Accountability).
A charter granted under this section for a dropout recovery school is not considered for purposes of the limit on the number of charters for open-enrollment charter schools imposed by this section. For purposes of this subsection, an open-enrollment charter school is considered to be a dropout recovery school if the school meets the criteria for designation as a dropout recovery school under Section 12.1141 (Renewal of Charter; Denial of Renewal; Expiration)(c).
In adopting any financial standards under this subchapter that an applicant for a charter for an open-enrollment charter school must meet, the commissioner shall not:
exclude any loan or line of credit in determining an applicant’s available funding; or
exclude an applicant from the grant of a charter solely because the applicant fails to demonstrate having a certain amount of current assets in cash.
The commissioner by rule shall allow a charter holder to provide written notice of the establishment of a new open-enrollment charter school under Subsection (b-4)(2) up to 18 months before the date on which the campus is anticipated to open. Notice provided to the commissioner under this section does not obligate the charter holder to open a new campus.
If the facility to be used for an open-enrollment charter school is a school district facility, the school must be operated in the facility in accordance with the terms established by the board of trustees or other governing body of the district in an agreement governing the relationship between the school and the district.
An educator employed by a school district before the effective date of a charter for an open-enrollment charter school operated at a school district facility may not be transferred to or employed by the open-enrollment charter school over the educator’s objection.Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1504, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 193, Sec. 1, eff. June 2, 2003.Amended by:Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1140 (S.B. 2), Sec. 9, eff. September 1, 2013.Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1046 (H.B. 1842), Sec. 3(a), eff. June 19, 2015.Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 597 (S.B. 668), Sec. 2.01, eff. June 10, 2019.