Bastrop County’s 1st charter school to open this fall, nonprofit pushing for more

Bastrop County

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — A Bastrop nonprofit pushing for a charter school last year is now in the process of getting ready for its first day of school.

“She will be in this class, and then we will have art, and this will probably be your Latin class,” said Gwen Martin as she showed her daughter around her new school. “This room will be used for seventh and eighth grade.”

Both of Martin’s girls will be attending Founders Classical Academy. The school is the only charter school in Bastrop County according to Bastrop CAN, the nonprofit behind bringing the school to the county.

“We had over 300 families from across Bastrop County that said they wanted something different,” Martin said.

Bastrop CAN helped make the new school possible. The network of parents, educators, and community leaders have been working for months to expand public school options in the county.

“Charter schools are public, tuition-free schools and they have to receive a charter from the state of Texas,” Martin said.

A key distinction between charter schools and independent school districts is while charter schools receive more money from state resources, they don’t get any local property tax money like ISDs.

Melanie Sharpless, the regional director for Founders Classical Academy, says charter schools allow parents to choose how their kids learn.

“Ours is a classical school, but you may have a STEM school or a charter school that concentrates on the arts,” Sharpless said.

The option to choose could mean more people going the charter route in the future.

“It is definitely going to bring more,” Martin said. “More people are taking notice.”

This year there will be about 130 students enrolled, and some are on a waiting list.

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