As the district continues this process, we've received various questions. Here are some of the most common concerns raised. But do you have a question that is not included on here? Let us know! You can send your questions to email@example.com or go to our Contact page.
The Texas Legislature signed Senate Bill 1882 into effect during 2017 to encourage districts to use partnerships to improve student outcomes by offering two new benefits: 1) approved partnerships may receive additional state funding for the partnership school, and 2) schools identified as Improvement Required (IR) under the 2017-2018 accountability rating are eligible to receive a two-year exemption from specific accountability interventions.
We are doing this because of the opportunities it will provide to our students, our staff, and our entire community. Longview ISD is an excellent district, and we want to sustain and build upon that excellence.
Families are making choices for other options — private schools and charter schools — and of course we want them to choose our district schools. We are committed to building a system in which every experience that families want to choose is part of what we offer within LISD.
“Change is inevitable and the gradual move toward charter schools nationwide is only going to increase,” said Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox. “Longview is going to get ahead of the changes in order to ensure public school accountability, and also to prevent tax funds being taken from public schools.”
A Senate Bill 1882 partnership provides the district with the ability to protect, sustain, build and replicate a successful model while providing additional options for families within the district.
Here are the primary goals for this kind of partnership:
- Protect: High performing school leaders often enjoy more flexibility to do what is best for their students. A Senate Bill 1882 partnership with a contract codifies and protects those autonomies from any future changes in district leadership or policy.
- Sustain: A Senate Bill 1882 partnership gives the district the opportunity to codify a model and ensure it will last and serve students long after personnel retire or leave. Additional per-pupil funding can also contribute to the long-term financial sustainability of successful programs or resources.
- Build: Knowing what works for students within a current structure doesn’t mean there are not additional ideas for how to improve. Additional autonomies available in a partnership will open new options to build upon the success of the model.
- Replicate: Replicating a model in a Senate Bill 1882 partnership will allow the ability to reach more students. The replication will ensure that more students in the district are able to attend high-quality best-fit schools and that parents have more access to high-quality options.
Teachers will remain employees of the district. Let us say that again: Longview ISD teachers will remain Longview ISD employees.
Public school charter partners are able to utilize the additional resources to increase teacher salaries, in addition to providing more educational resources, professional development opportunities, and classroom autonomy.
However, no matter what, Longview ISD teachers will remain Longview ISD teachers, and as such will retain all of the same benefits and protections of other district employees. That includes their teacher retirement.
The partners seek to collaborate with and build from the expertise of our talented educators.
Students will obtain access to resources and programs that are not dependent on where they live, their family’s income or their demographics. LISD will be expanding the digital and technology footprint which will enable us to create opportunities for teachers and students that the district has not been able to in the past.
From the student perspective, there will be very little change in their basic schedule and academic expectations. Many of the shifts that may occur will involve details behind the scenes, mostly on an administrative level. What students will notice is increased access to resources and programs that are not dependent on where they live, their family’s income or their demographics.
Special Education services and 504 accommodations will not change. While most private charters have seldom accommodated Special Education needs and services, Longview ISD will continue to give our SpEd students the best possible education and services that are available.
Just as all campuses and teachers remain a part of the district, so too will students.
NO, the district is not losing control over the campuses. The publicly-elected LISD Board of Trustees are the final deciding authorities regardless of the public school charter boards.
The non-profit charter boards have authority over their organizations, but they are under the LISD board’s authority. The LISD board can end the contract if the terms are not met.
Legally, Senate Bill 1882 partnerships are in-district public school charters, which means the students are still district students and the school board continues to maintain responsibility for the schools.
By having LISD be the authorizer of charter campuses, the district maintains the authority to set the ground rules the partners have to follow. This way, LISD board can ensure a level playing field for all LISD schools, as well as allowing the district a mechanism to intervene if partners breach the contract.
The partner has sole responsibility for personnel as well as authority over decisions related to curriculum and assessment, schedule and calendar, and allocation of the budget. The district and its board of trustees holds the partner accountable through a performance contract outlining academic, financial, and operational goals for the school as well as the division of roles and responsibilities. For a partnership school to be eligible for Senate Bill 1882 benefits, the partner must manage the principal and faculty.
The new administrative structure will not affect the core values or identity that our high school represents. The community will continue to see school faculty at district-wide gatherings and the community will continue to join the school’s athletic and other extracurricular events. Further, the nonprofit board members will be selected on the basis of their commitment to this community, and maintaining the high school’s role in the community, as well as their expertise.
No, the goal of the application process is to make sure there is a good match between the community and the partner.
No, all partners are nonprofit organizations and the performance contract will require that they spend all of the money for the benefit of our students. Partner board members serve as volunteers and all partner board members and leaders are subject to the same ethics and conflict of interest requirements as other public employees.
Yes, the school board is crucial in executing the performance contract, making sure the district is operational and monitoring school performance. They are the ones who will need to take action to either continue or end the partnerships. They will monitor and hold the partner accountable for their progress in meeting the performance goals outlined in the contract. The elected school board does not and cannot under state law give up its ultimate responsibility for a district school. The difference is that rather than contracting with a principal to oversee educational services at the school, the elected board contracts with an organization to provide services that the school board specifies in the contract. The school board is therefore delegating day-to-day decision-making to the nonprofit organization without losing the obligation to hold the school accountable for its outcomes. This will allow more decisions to be made at the campus level, where those discussions are closest to the students and teachers.
- Contract terms: The school board carries out its governance responsibilities by setting clear performance expectations in the contract it enters into with the nonprofit and monitoring whether the nonprofit is meeting those expectations.
- Contract continuation or termination (revocation): The performance contract under consideration ensures that the school board is able to intervene or terminate the contract if student performance or financial compliance requirements are not met.
First and foremost, our teachers are always encouraged to reach out to their campus principals directly with questions and concerns. However, for those who wish to bring their concerns or questions anonymously, there’s our Let’s Talk page at LISD.org/contact or you can email our department at ASK@LISD.org and we’ll be glad to help answer any questions you’ve not been able to get answered elsewhere.
But we also held several “town hall” style meetings over the Autumn and Winter months that were heavily promoted, completely open to the public, and reported on by the district as well as local media. Those meetings were Sept. 23rd at the Academy, Oct. 1st at Forest Park, Oct. 7th at Judson, Nov. 5th at the LISD admin building, and Feb. 11th at Broughton Rec Center.
District administrators also conducted a series of on-campus meetings (Feb. 24th at Hudson PEP and Foster, Feb. 25th at Ned E. Williams, Feb. 28th at Longview High and Judson, and March 5th at South Ward) where campus teachers and staff were invited to voice concerns and ask questions.
The administration feels that those interactions were largely positive, with the overwhelming concerns from our staff being any possible changes to their pay or the status of employee benefits and retirement—which is great, because every indication is that this public charter school initiative stands to be a potential financial windfall for our campus teachers and staff!
Our teachers are always welcome to address any questions or concerns about this initiative (or anything else!) with their individual campus or district leadership.
Furthermore, the developments of this endeavor have been consistently covered in various LISD communications, whether via email, social media, website or the district newspaper. However, continued dialogue is welcomed.
Teachers, students, families and members of the community are always welcome to attend the monthly LISD board meeting. Questions may also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, an anonymous contact form may be filled out online at LISD.org/contact, or you're welcome to call the LISD Department of Innovation at 903-381-2200.
Upon first learning of the lawsuit, we did not anticipate any direct impact on the progress of district charter school status or progress as a result of this (or any other) lawsuit.
That proved to be exactly what occurred.
April 29th the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice by visiting Judge Jack Carter in district court.
Longview ISD is pleased Judge Carter correctly applied the law and found the plaintiffs were not entitled to second-guess the Board's decisions.
Further, we are glad the matter is now resolved, and LISD can continue to provide innovative education options for the students, families, and entire Longview community.
The district would welcome proposals from any group that is interested in improving educational opportunities for students. Proposals would include the board members and their resumes. Any individuals interested in joining current charter partners are certainly welcome to reach out to those boards, or Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox directly and offer their services as members of the boar
The board of the nonprofit organization that contracts with the district to manage the school is subject to all the same open-meeting and open-record requirements that apply to the district. So, for instance, all meetings of the organization’s board will be open to the public. Also, the elected school board of LISD can require, as part of the performance contract, that the nonprofit take certain steps to ensure ample opportunity for parent and community involvement in the school and can include parent and community satisfaction among the metrics by which the nonprofit is evaluated under the contract.
Senate Bill 1882 is a Texas law that was passed in 2017 that established new incentives for districts to enter partnerships. These partnerships are a dynamic pathway to accelerating innovation and/or improving students’ outcomes. Districts can create partnerships with nonprofits, higher education institutions like colleges and universities, and government entities. The partnerships approach brings more expertise to the district’s table and provides access to more resources for district students. Partnerships do not remove responsibility from the district. They are collaborations to support stronger student outcomes. Districts maintain ultimate authority over the partnership and will decide the performance measures in the contract, and may extend or revoke the partnership. Importantly, the partnerships are an exchange of autonomy and flexibility for accountability to those performance outcomes that the district sets. Partnerships are an opportunity to be creative, innovative and match community demand with new ideas and resources. The school board must approve any partnership. The state’s role is to approve the financial and accountability benefits, but the state has no role in selecting or approving the partner or campus.
- Partnerships are valuable within a district’s overall strategy even beyond Senate Bill 1882 financial incentives. Longview ISD’s primary concern in this program are the potential positive outcomes for student achievement. Through the formal partnership, schools are guaranteed the flexibility they need to best serve their students as long as they meet performance goals. Even if the district administration or school board changes and they adopt a new strategy or initiative, partnership campuses can focus on implementing their plans with fidelity and don’t get inundated with the next district-wide thing.
- A partnership school can focus on their own models of professional development, their own calendars and their own teacher recruitment strategies outside of the district’s requirements.
- Districts can launch brand new schools through a partnership or even restart schools. They may also be able to replicate already successful schools through a partnership.
- Through partnering, districts can be eligible for increased per-pupil-funding for partner campuses.
- If a school is in IR and it chooses to enter a partnership, its district can be eligible for a temporary pause on TEA accountability sanctions.
- Since partner schools are still district schools, their accountability gains count for the district’s accountability.
- By partnering, districts gain access to a wide range of resources from their partners and opportunities for additional grants.
All these terms may be used to describe single public schools or groups of public schools within school districts that operate with a certain degree of independence over decisions on the campus. These types of public schools and their educators are not strictly managed by a central district office and they may be able to waive specific district or state policies. Like charter schools, Texas partnerships schools may exercise autonomy over educational program, staffing, budget and scheduling. These schools may operate under a variety of governance structures including a contracted nonprofit partner organization independent of the school district with its own independent board.
“Allowing talented educators to make academic and operational decisions that better serve students are a major leveler for school improvement and innovation, and this is what belief autonomous district school initiatives should be rooted in,” said Dr. Wilcox.
The Texas Partnerships Opportunity is a vehicle to formalize this belief and further sustains it with additional funding. Partnering with an independent organization through a performance contract protects that autonomy, may add capacity and expertise the district doesn’t currently have, and provide an opportunity for the community to have a significant role in managing their schools. Districts have also used the opportunity to launch new schools, turn around struggling schools and replicate successful schools, all strategies that can apply to a single campus or network of campuses pursuing a similar approach.
Unfortunately, sometimes when great leaders leave, high-performing and innovative campuses don’t stay great. Partnership will enable schools to sustain the impact of the campus model and replicate it to serve more students. The autonomies and flexibilities will allow schools to further innovate, and if approved for benefits under Senate Bill 1882, the schools will have additional per-pupil funding. Through the performance contract, the schools will negotiate which district services they would like to opt in to, such as transportation or food service, and which they would like to opt out of and receive the funding to use to procure services elsewhere, such as professional development or instructional coaching.
Yes, but it is an in-district public school charter system. In Texas, "charter schools" can mean different things, each type of system with different applicable laws. Subchapter D charters are state-authorized; these include many of the campuses operated by large charter management organizations such as IDEA or KIPP. Subchapter C public school charters are district-authorized, also called “in-district” charter programs. Senate Bill 1882 applies to in-district charters operated by a non-profit, institution of higher education, or governmental entity.
Districts have long been able to authorize in-district charters, but Senate Bill 1882 created a benefit for in-district charters that meet criteria set by the state. The district grants the charter, and the state provides the benefits.
Staffing Autonomy: Partners may, in collaboration with school leadership teams and based on the feedback and input from teachers and families, opt to use their staffing autonomy to create new roles, develop teacher pipelines, and/or design innovative compensation structures to reward and retain top educators and teacher leaders.
Instructional Autonomy: Partners may select curriculum materials and design an academic program experience that meets their specific school model. For example, a Montessori partner can invest deeply in Montessori training and materials, while a partner focused on career pathways and work-based learning opportunities might offer new and different courses and certifications.
Calendar/Schedule Autonomy: Partners will be able to adjust campus schedules to meet the needs of their specific students and school model. This flexibility allows each partner to offer its specific program in the most effective way, as they are able to build in time for teacher collaboration, student enrichment, extended learning, advisory time, professional learning, and more.
Budgetary Autonomy: Partnership campuses will have flexibility to invest their funds into the highest-priority areas for the campus. A STEAM campus may have different priorities than a Montessori campus, and each partner will be able to adopt a budget that best meets the needs of students. Across the state, partnership campuses have chosen to invest in teacher residency programs, family engagement, after-school programs, supplies and equipment, higher salaries, smaller class sizes, robust counseling and support services, professional development, and more.
Current LISD administration will transition from the role of an “operator,” to that of an “evaluator” and monitor of outcomes. The focus of the administration shifts from inputs to outputs and ultimately to the performance of the operating partner based upon the performance contract agreement.
No, Longview ISD does not have any campuses classified as IR. In fact, LISD earned 40 total distinctions on accountability ratings from the Texas Education Agency. An increase from the 34 distinctions earned a year ago, and one of the highest number of distinctions for any school in East Texas.
No, districts may also pursue benefits for Innovation schools. Innovation Schools include existing district schools that were not in IR status the year prior to becoming a partnership school, and newly launched schools with a new county district campus number (including early childhood programs serving PK3).
Any district that authorizes an eligible partner to run a school may be eligible for Partnership School benefits.
To be eligible for benefits, partner organizations must be non-profits (including state-authorized charter schools), institutions of higher education, or government entities.
If a partner does not meet the performance goals that are outlined in the Performance Agreement, then the LISD Board of Trustees determines the steps it will take to resolve the issues, up to and including termination of the charter.
The partner has responsibility for personnel, as well as authority over decisions related to curriculum, calendar, and assessments. The district holds the partner accountable through a performance contract outlining academic goals for the school, as well as the division of roles and responsibilities.
To be eligible for the exemption, the partnership school must have received an “Improvement Required” rating in the year prior to entering the partnership.
For schools in IR1 – IR3, the accountability intervention exemption begins the academic year after the school seeks approval for partnership benefits. For schools with four or more consecutive IR ratings, the exemption begins in the school year the district applies for benefits. The exemption lasts for two years.
Districts are only exempt from interventions outlined under TEC 39.107(a) and (e) related to the performance of an approved partnership school. Specifically, the agency may not impose that the campus prepare and submit a turnaround plan, as outlined in TEC §39.107(a), appoint a board of managers, as outlined in TEC 39.107(e)(1), and/or close the campus, as outlined in TEC §39.107(e)(2).
To determine district eligibility for additional funding, and to estimate the amount of additional funding, districts should use the “District Charter Funding SY2019” tab on the State Aid Template of TEA’s Charter School Finance website.
Yes. Per statute, the district must authorize partnership schools as a campus or in-district charter.
Yes. Districts should reference their local board policy for information regarding the local process.
Possibly. Districts pursuing a partnership that includes a Turnaround Partnership School with a new Texas partner must use the TEA’s Model Local Partnership Authorizing Policy, Model Local Campus Partner Application, and Local Campus Partner Evaluation Form.
Yes. Districts and partners are required to create a service-level agreement outlining services the district will provide to the partnership school, which can include transportation and other support services.
Yes. Partner boards may not include any members of the independent school district’s Board of Trustees, the Superintendent, or staff responsible for evaluating the Local Campus Partnership Application or overseeing the Partnership Performance Contract.
Yes. District staff may not comprise a majority of any board with which the district approves a Partnership Performance Contract.
Yes. Districts may not appoint a majority of the members of the governing board of the partner organization.
Yes. Local policy determines conflicts of interest. However, districts must provide an assurance that no member of the governing body of the partner will be related within the first degree of affinity or consanguinity with any members of the independent school district’s Board of Trustees, the Superintendent, or staff responsible for granting the charter or contract to partner to operate or overseeing the performance contract.
For a partnership school to be eligible for benefits, the partner must manage the principal or school leader.
The partner or the district can employ staff. The district and the partner should outline employer and employee arrangements in the performance contract. The partner must employ at least one FTE to manage the school.
If the partner hires the employees directly, the partner may add performance pay benefits separate from the district’s performance pay system. If teachers hired by the district directly have performance pay benefits in their contracts, they will be eligible for the program.
The partner has the sole authority to select, reassign, or terminate administration or teaching staff. The partner has the sole authority to determine whether any open positions exist in the school, and has the initial and final authority to approve the assignment of a district employee applicant to the partner. The partner must hire and manage at least one employee.
Yes. Please reference the Partnership Performance Contract Evaluation Form for specific criteria regarding provisions.
To be eligible for Partnership School benefits, performance contracts must have a minimum term of three years with a maximum term of ten years. The district and the operating partner negotiate the length of the agreement.
Districts must hold a public hearing to either extend or terminate the agreement.
Yes. See the Partnership Performance Contract Evaluation Form for contract requirements.
Yes. See the Partnership Performance Contract Evaluation Form for contract requirements.
No. To receive partnership school benefits, districts must provide an assurance that the Partnership Performance Contract is not contingent on receiving an acceptable accountability rating.
Yes. There is no limit on the number of Texas Partnerships that can receive benefits in a district. Districts may submit the District Partnership Benefits Application and Local Board-Approved Charter Authorizing Policy just once. However, they must submit the Local Campus Partner Application and the Partnership Performance Contract for each partnership school.