Future of education could fall into charter school territory

Local school districts aren't the only game in town anymore.

Charter schools are a hot ticket in Houston, giving neighborhood children an alternative and competition to the schools they're zoned to attend.

The Masterson Advisors managing director Drew Masterson represents schools and says parents need to shop around and find the best fit for their child.

“That’s not something people are accustomed to doing in the education environment, they’re accustomed to just going to their neighborhood schools,” said Masterson. “It is a whole mindset change to realize that there’s competitive alternatives out there.”

He said HISD and the other local districts offer many great schools of choice. Charter schools are another additional alternative to the neighborhood school.

International Leadership of Texas, is the fastest growing charter school network in the state migrating from Dallas to the Houston-area.

International Leadership of Texas CEO Dr. Alan Seay said IL has been in the Houston area for three years and has campuses in Katy, Westpark, South Houston and College Station with a total enrollment of about 19-thousand students.

It's three basic tenants are servant leadership; tri-lingual curriculum model--students from Kindergarten to 12th grade learn English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese; and finally focus on improving students mind, body and character.

“Since 1998, when charter schools in Texas were begun, I think that we see traditional public school districts now that have created choice programs within their schools districts,” said Seay. “And, I think that’s a direct result of the competition from charter schools from public school choice, from the hundreds, literally, of other charter schools that are located in the Houston area.”

IL Texas has been in Houston now for three years. Three of the big charter school systems are Houston-based: KIPP, YES Prep and Harmony.

Charter schools are public, they are free, there is no tuition because the funding is covered by the government.

Local school district is funded by property taxes, state and federal funds and the percentage of money comes from how big is its tax base compared to the number of students enrolled.

Charter schools don't get property tax money, so the money appropriated to the student from the state would go to the charter school.

 Masterson said one difference between many of the magnet schools and charter schools is that there is no testing required for charter schools. They are open enrollment.

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