Last night, the Austin ISD board of trustees voted 5-4 to end its contract with IDEA Public Schools, which has been operating IDEA Allan as an in-district charter for several months. “Austin school trustees vote to end IDEA charter partnership”, Melissa B. Taboada, Austin American-Statesman, December 17, 2012; “AISD Cancels Contract With IDEA Charter School”, Nathan Bernier, KUT, December 18, 2012. The Statesman notes: “IDEA school leaders will meet at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday to plan how to continue school operations outside of the district.”
In Austin, IDEA tried the strategy of partnering with Austin ISD to take over an existing, troubled campus, but community opposition caused that experiment to fail. By contrast, in San Antonio, IDEA was welcomed by community leaders, including David Robinson, and received philanthropic support from the Ewing Halsell Foundation, the Brackenridge Foundation, and the San Antonio Area Foundation. IDEA’s schools in San Antonio, IDEA Carver and the future IDEA South Flores, operate independently of the existing public school districts and are in no danger of the kind of disruption that is happening in Austin.
My opinion: I’m glad that IDEA has taken the independent route in San Antonio, and I wish them well for a fresh start in Austin without the constraints of their Austin ISD contract.