Charter school operators should not be allowed to make money hand over fist by leasing buildings to themselves when the funds are supposed to be spent on educating children.
Charter officials can profit by leasing property they own to the charter school they operate. This is because charter schools are not subject to the same conflict of interest and nepotism laws that apply to school districts. The San Antonio Express article reports that “in Houston, the superintendent and founder of Diversity, Roots and Wings Academy, or DRAW, owns or controls four facilities used by the school, allowing him to bill millions to schools he oversees. DRAW’s most recent financial report shows signed lease agreements to pay Fernando Donatti, the superintendent, and his companies more than $6.5 million through 2031.” Full article here or pdf
HB 1707 (Rep. Klick) will limit the right of parents and taxpayers to voice their opinion on decisions in the city zoning/permitting process for new charter facilities that affect their property rights and home values, such as traffic control, setbacks from property lines, building heights, and more.
- HB 1707 applies to both small towns and large urban areas.
- This bill will help to fast-track new charter campuses opening across Texas.
- It will limit the authority of City Councils to protect neighborhoods and subdivisions.
- It does not address current inequities: unelected charter board members that don’t even live in the community (or even in Texas) decide where they want to locate a new charter facility without any public meetings or input from local parents.
Big differences in how charter schools treat parents and taxpayers.
Supporters of HB 1707 claim that it will ensure that charter schools are treated the same as public school districts related to development, but there are already BIG differences in how charters treat parents and taxpayers that are NOT addressed in this bill:
PLEASE TAKE ACTION
- Please contact your House member to ask them to vote AGAINST HB 1707
- See list of all members here
- Find who represents you here
You can watch online at https://house.texas.gov/video-audio/broadcast-schedule/
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