AUSTIN (KXAN) - Negotiations are underway between the Austin Independent School District and a charter school program called IDEA Public Schools.
The program, founded in South Texas in 2000 by a former teacher, has a successful track record with students.
"We want them to be able to have a successful future once they leave AISD and students in IDEA charter schools in the Rio Grande Valley have done just that," said AISD spokeswoman Erin Moore.
In the last five years, all IDEA graduates have been accepted into a 4-year college or university and 90-percent who attend have finished. Of those students, more than half graduated in 4-years.
Most of their schools, which cater to underserved communities, have achieved "exemplary" or "recognized" ratings from the state.
While the AISD has not nailed down which schools would be affected, they are looking to turn two to three East Austin campuses into kindergarten through 12th grade charter schools.
IDEA would handle all the hiring and curriculum for the in-district charter.
"There's a lot of parents frustrated and confused," said Janie Rangel who does not want to see her grandson and nephew relocated from Allan Elementary in East Austin.
"So much for our neighborhood schools because they're not our neighborhood schools," said Rangel. "They're going to be someone else's neighborhood schools."
In addition to AISD providing the buildings, IDEA has asked the district to cover utilities, meals, transportation and an additional $8,000 per student.
"From what we are spending per student from Eastside [Memorial High School] right now we could actually stand to save money," said Moore.
If the deal does not go through, there is a good chance IDEA would set up shop in Austin as competition.
Austin ISD is already losing $26 million in state funding because more than 4,000 students who live in the district attend charter schools.
The Austin school board is expected to vote on the charter plan in December. Several board members are planning a trip to South Texas to tour an IDEA Public School next week.
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