CASE STUDY – TQPCS

ECA Strategies Frames Statewide Efforts to Close Inequitable Funding Gap in Texas Public Charter Schools

Texas public charter schools were created in 1995 to improve student learning, increase public school choice and encourage innovation. Like traditional public schools, students take the same standardized tests and learn the same curriculum. However, public charters have stricter state standards and less state funding. While the enrollment in public charters has tripled in the last decade, the schools receive approximately $1,000 less per student in state funding than traditional public schools. ECA Strategies was engaged by Texans for Quality Public Charter Schools (TQPCS) in 2016 to help close this inequitable funding formula. ECA Strategies successfully launched statewide efforts to strengthen the pro-public charter agenda and ultimately, the Texas Legislature passed a school finance bill that included $60 million in funds for public charter school facilities. Texas public charters schools enroll about 250,000 students in 678 campuses. With a wait list of close to 130,000 students in Texas, public charter schools need the funding boost to continue providing families with a quality education.

Challenge:                                  

TQPCS leadership identified systematic political engagement as its most present challenge to sustained legislative success. Without having the political clout, TQPCS members were not cultivating long lasting relationships with key decision makers and therefore, not effectively delivering their legislative message of closing the funding gap.

Action Items:

  • ECA Strategies served as political counsel and helped determine the legislative relationships that were key to a successful lobbying effort.
  • The political relationships were cultivated by organizing strategic meetings with key decision makers and activating political resources.
  • ECA Strategies constructed an accountability tracking system that reduced wasted resources and ensured proper channeling to maximize the impact of political efforts.

Results:

  • The Texas Legislature passed a school finance bill that included $60 million in facility funding for public charters.
  • Public charters will receive $200 per student to pay for rent or build facilities during the 2018 – 2019 school year.