Late Wednesday night, Kyle Renard did get back to me regarding my question about her stance on charter schools, since it appeared to change. I’m going to print it in its entirety. I still think that it should’ve been mentioned in her response – after all, the question was about charter schools, with no distinction.
I think it was a great opportunity to be open. After all, openness is something we do require of our board members. All it would’ve taken is a, “Hey, I thought it was an interesting concept at one point, but it never got put on the agenda. I know this seems like I’m contradicting myself, but here’s the difference between the thing I liked and the thing I don’t like.” When you do that, you don’t have reporters emailing you about things they find while they’re vetting candidates.
And it seems like something that you’d want to have included in your list of things you’ve been affiliated with. Such open-minded thinking about the potential avenues of learning would bode well for a potential board member, right? So why scrub your name from the website? Why not mention it?
Anywho, here is Renard’s response:
“There is much confusion over the different kinds of charter schools in Texas. The terminology is challenging as the word “charter” is used with different adjectives to describe the type of charter and the adjectives seem to not be consistent. There is a difference between an in-district, open-enrollment charter school (or campus program charter) vs. an “outside” open-enrollment charter school (such as Uplift or KIPP). I used the term “outside” charter school to describe charter schools which operate outside of the authority of the school district and are under the authority of appointed boards, not an elected board.
The 83rd legislature passed Senate Bill 2, which allowed school districts the power to grant an in-district, open-enrollment charter school by a vote of the school board. Previously, it could only be done by a petition signed by a majority of the teachers and parents at the school, which then had to be approved by the trustees.
A regular open enrollment charter school has their charter granted by the State Board of Education or the Commissioner of Education, not the board of trustees of an ISD.
The in-district or program charters also differ from an outside charter school in that they are under the authority of the elected board of trustees of the school district which grants the charter. They are accountable to the school board for their performance as are the other schools in that school district and are responsible for meeting the goals agreed upon between the charter and the school board. The school board can revoke the charter of the school if it does not meet the agreed upon goals.
In contrast, an “outside” open enrollment charter school has an appointed board of directors which is accountable to the TEA. Only the TEA can revoke the charter of an outside open enrollment charter school. The local school district has no authority over an outside charter school.
The School of Entrepreneurship in the Arts and Technology was planned to be a teacher-led, in-district open enrollment charter school which would be under the authority of the DISD board of trustees. Under SB 2, the board of trustees could grant the charter to the school. The concept was presented to the DISD board of trustees at a board briefing but was never placed on the agenda for a vote.
I was intrigued by this innovative concept as it was developed by experienced teachers and would still be under the authority of elected officials, in contrast to outside charter school entities. The democratic process and control of our tax dollars by elected officials is very important to me, and so this new concept for an in-district charter school (campus program charter) accountable to the DISD board of trustees is consistent with my position on outside charter schools.”