Millions in Taxpayer Dollars Pour Into Texas Charter Schools as Their Growth Skyrockets

Millions in new federal funding is adding major firepower to the charter school invasion sweeping through Texas, and now some traditional public school districts are looking to partner with the independent educators they once saw as their sworn enemy.Charter growth has been booming across Texas since the Legislature first authorized the use of state funds for them two decades ago.Enrollment is skyrocketing. In 2010, there were 119,600 students in charter schools. Last year, there were 272,700.Just this week, International Leadership of Texas, one of the state’s largest operators, held a ribbon-cutting for its eighth campus in Tarrant County. And it plans to open 10 more campuses across the state next year.Last week, IDEA Public Schools won $67 million in federal grant money for charter expansion that will help it build numerous campuses across Tarrant County over the next five years.The state also was awarded about $60 million in federal grants for charter school expansion -- including for those run out of traditional districts.The Texas Charter Schools Association estimates about 130,000 students are on waiting lists for such campuses. IDEA founder Tom Torkelson said at his schools alone, there were 50,000 applications this year for 10,000 open seats.  Continue reading...

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