“I like what I’m seeing” says Ken Mercer after BASIS and Great Hearts charter interviews

Comments on BASIS and Great Hearts charter interviews:

“In terms of finance and governance and curriculum, I like what I’m seeing,” said Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, chairman of the board’s committee on school initiatives.

Michael Soto, D-San Antonio, said he won’t be surprised if the board approves both applications for BASIS and Great Hearts Academies.

“There’s pretty solid support for efforts to raise the bar academically on the board and throughout the state because these charter applications significantly raise the academic bar,” Soto said.

“Charter schools make pitch for San Antonio”, Gary Scharrer, San Antonio Express-News, November 3, 2012.

A group of community leaders, including Phil Hardberger (former Mayor), Steve Lewis (chairman of Jefferson Bank), Graham Weston (co-founder and chairman of Rackspace), and Jose H. Villarreal (lawyer with ties to Teach for America and KIPP Foundation), signed a letter urging the State Board of Education to approve the charter applications for Great Hearts and BASIS. The letter cites San Antonio’s poor ranking on the employment gap index: our workers do not have the skills necessary to fill the job openings that are out there, and unless that changes, San Antonio’s economy will suffer in the long term.

At the interview, BASIS amended its application to allow for up to five campuses and up to 3,750 students in grades 5-12 in the first five years. Great Hearts asked for up to three campuses (including one in Dallas) and up to 3,048 students in grades K-12 in the first five years.

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