IDEA announcement comes day after school district voted to dissolve partnership.
A day after Austin school trustees voted to dissolve the district’s partnership with IDEA Public Schools, leaders of the charter operator announced they would forge ahead with plans to start its own school apart from the district.
One day after Austin school trustees voted to dissolve the district’s partnership with IDEA Public Schools, leaders of the South Texas based charter operator announced Tuesday they would forge ahead with plans to start a school apart from the district.
The new location has not yet been chosen, but charter leaders said they have several options in setting up their own school. IDEA officials said they hope to announce a location and timeline for the new campus in January.
Charter officials already operate a single school in Austin, and they would not say whether the new campus will remain in East Austin, where the school it now runs is located.
Larkin Tackett, executive director of the local IDEA charter, which is housed in the district’s Allan Elementary campus in East Austin, said the charter committed to seeing this year’s kindergarten students to and through college, “and last night’s vote by the AISD board doesn’t change that fact.”
“We are in this for the long haul,” Tackett said. “Our promise is stronger than the prevailing political winds.”
Late Monday night, Austin trustees reversed last year’s controversial board decision for the charter operator to take over an East Austin school. The district had contracted with IDEA to grow
into a second East Austin school, Eastside Memorial High School, as early as August.
But last month’s school board election put in place three trustees who opposed the charter agreement; they joined two trustees who voted against the partnership last year, giving them the majority. One month into the charter school’s existence, trustees voted 5-4 on Monday to dissolve the partnership with IDEA at the end of the school year.
Those in the minority cautioned before the vote that ending the partnership without a firm plan for Eastside Memorial, which in the past has failed to meet the state’s academic standards, and the schools that feed into it. But trustees who voted for the move said the partnership damaged the community’s trust in the district and remained a divisive issue.
In the days leading up to the vote, relations between the two partners appeared strained.
Just before the vote, Trustee Jayme Mathias alluded to IDEA “talking smack” about the school board.
IDEA Public Schools CEO Tom Torkelson said last week that if the new board ended the partnership in its infancy, it would “go down as the most knee-jerk reactionary board in the nation.”
But Tuesday morning, Torkelson steered away from the comments when asked to evaluate the board’s decision and whether his words contributed to the damage in the relationship.
“I’m really focused