AUSTIN (KXAN) — A network of public schools is planning a big expansion in Austin by the year 2022. IDEA Public Schools has promised to construct 20 new schools bringing free quality education to Austin.
Joining us in the KXAN studio is, Larkin Tackett, the Executive Director of IDEA Public Schools. His goal is better prepare Austin students seeking higher education.
IDEA will determine the new schools’ locations through ongoing discussions with neighborhood and community leaders. The partnership between IDEA and residents will help them assess the areas in Austin where quality education is needed. The school’s organizers are looking for the best places to construct the 20 new schools, which will be co-located on 10 campuses.
“The biggest difference is our focus on college. We believe a college degree is really a necessity in this economy,” said Tackett. “We want to make sure every student goes to and through college.”
The new schools will be paid for with a $16 million gift given to IDEA by Austin’s KLE Foundation. A fundraising campaign will launch to raise the additional $16 million needed for the remaining campuses.
With only six percent of lower income students earning a college degree, IDEA hopes adding new schools with “high-quality” education will raise those numbers. This school year, IDEA said they had to turn away 3,000 students due to a lack of open seats. They hope to bring an IDEA school to every Austin neighborhood, providing all students the opportunity to receive an education which will prepare them for college.
By 2028, IDEA hopes to have 26 full scale schools up and running. They plan to offer education to 20,000 students in Austin, which would make it the largest public charter school system in Central Texas.