The Texas Education Agency has suspended issuing ratings for school districts this year as students get used to the new state exam. Three schools and one school district, who would have had their public school status revoked, have been given what amounts to a stay of execution because of the suspension.
The schools in question are:
- Jonesboro ISD
- Houston Can Academy Charter School
- Aristoi Classical Academy in Katy
- American YouthWorks Charter School in Austin
"Those four that are in that category received a letter today that says we’re not issuing the rating this year, but we’re warning them they could lose their status as a public school next year if they don’t correct their financial problems," said the Director of Media Relations for the TEA, Debbie Radcliff.
The Texas Education Agency issues four different ratings to determine how well school districts and charter schools are performing: Accredited, Warned, Probation or Revoked.
With the new mandated State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exam, the TEA decided it would better to wait before issuing any scores for the current school year while students and administrators adjust to the new testing regimen.
Holding schools accountable
The agency has used test scores along with financial accountability and a few other factors to determine what rating a school should get. If a school's status becomes revoked, it is no longer considered a public school and loses all state funding and must either shut down or operate as a private entity. The system was introduced in 2006.
Radcliff said the each of the schools on the list have had a pattern of both academic and financial issues, but that this year, the year they would have been told they can no longer call themselves public schools, it was solely because of financial issues.
“We look at a lot of factors,” said Radcliff. “Are they using their money appropriately? Are they documenting their expenditures? Have they gotten a clean audit?”
In the 2011-12 school year, 97 percent of Texas school districts and charter schools kept their accreditation status. None of San Antonio's school districts received any status below accredited that year.
This year is a pass
The next time the statues will be given is in the 2013-14 school year, so for now the lack of academic accreditation statuses have kept these schools from being branded Revoked for their financial issues.
The three schools and Jonesboro ISD have been entered into a new category: Presumptive Accredited Revoked.