Bastrop County nonprofit pushes for charter school option

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BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — As Bastrop Independent School District reopens in-person learning, Wednesday a network of Bastrop County parents will launch an initiative to expand public school options. It’s called Bastrop Charter Advocate Network, or Bastrop CAN.

For the last five years, Gwen Martin has been working on a solution.

“We all know that all kids learn differently and my two daughters are a good example of that,” she said.

Martin’s oldest, her sixth-grader, is a social butterfly.

“She is more interested in sports and friends so she needs more attention in class,” she said.

While her youngest is studious.

“(She) is definitely the one who enjoys learning, studying and reading,” Martin said.

For the mom of two, it’s all about having a choice.

“Right now, it’s like the government telling you you can only shop at one store,” she said. “We want to be able to say we have options and you can shop at whatever store you like.”

She and dozens of other Bastrop County parents are pushing for charter schools. One of those charter school organizations the nonprofit has reached out to is Responsive Education.

“Really it truly does have a lot to do with what the community need is and if there’s a high enough demand for what we can bring to the table,” explained Jake Kurz, the charter school organization’s director of communications.

ResponsiveEd offers various educational models for students K-12 with Premier High Schools and ResponsiveEd Classical Academy across Austin, Founders Classical Academy in Leander and iSchool Virtual Academy as an option for virtual learning.

“I want to have the option to send them to a school that best fits what they need,” Martin said.

At present, Bastrop CAN representatives said the goal is to have a charter school in Bastrop County by Fall 2022. They have reached out and had discussions with a couple of charter school organizations, including ResponsiveEd, but nothing is official yet.

KXAN reached out to school leaders at the county’s biggest school districts — Bastrop and Elgin ISDs — and waiting to hear back.

The nonprofit launches Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at the Bastrop Opera House. Bastrop CAN representatives said this will be a socially distant event and everyone is required to wear a mask.

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