Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ

What is SB 1882?

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.

Are Partnership School benefits only for Turnaround Schools?

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).

Are all districts eligible to apply for Partnership School benefits (SB 1882)?

Any district that authorizes an eligible partner to run a school may be eligible for Partnership School benefits.

What types of organizations are eligible to be partners?

To be eligible for benefits, partner organizations must be non-profits (including state-authorized charter schools), institutions of higher education, or government entities.

What does it mean for a partner to be in “good standing?”

To meet the state’s definition for “good standing,” the partner must have at least three years of experience operating a Texas charter school and must have received acceptable academic and financial accountability ratings for the three preceding school years. In addition, the partner may not be associated with a charter that has been revoked.

What does it mean for a partner to run or operate a district campus?

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.

Do all partnership schools approved for benefits receive a two-year exemption from specific accountability interventions?

To be eligible for the exemption, the partnership school must have received an “Improvement Required” rating in the year prior to entering the partnership.

When do accountability benefits begin? How long do they last?

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.

From which interventions are campuses participating in a Texas Partnership exempt?

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).

How much additional funding can my Texas Partnership school expect under SB 1882?

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.

District Procedures

Does a district need to authorize a partnership school need to be authorized by the district as a campus or in-district charter?

Yes. Per statute, the district must authorize partnership schools as a campus or in-district charter.

Can all districts authorize partnership or in-district charter schools?

Yes. Districts should reference their local board policy for information regarding the local process.

Does a district need to adopt specific board policies or authorizing materials?

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.

Can the district still provide transportation services for the partnership school?

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.

Governance

Are there restrictions on who can serve on a partner's board?

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.

Are there restrictions on the composition of a partner's board?

Yes. District staff may not comprise a majority of any board with which the district approves a Partnership Performance Contract.

Are there restrictions on the appointment of partner board members?

Yes. Districts may not appoint a majority of the members of the governing board of the partner organization.

Are districts and partners required to meet conflict of interest standards?

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.

Partnership Performance Contract

Does the Partnership Performance Contract need to include specific provisions?

Yes. Please reference the Partnership Performance Contract Evaluation Form for specific criteria regarding provisions.

 

How long does the partnership last between the district and the operating partner?

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.

Can districts terminate the agreement before the term length has been met, or extend the agreement?

Districts must hold a public hearing to either extend or terminate the agreement.

Does the performance contract need to include academic performance measures?

Yes. See the Partnership Performance Contract Evaluation Form for contract requirements.

Does the performance contract need to include financial performance measures?

Yes. See the Partnership Performance Contract Evaluation Form for contract requirements.

Can the performance contract be contingent on a turnaround school receiving an acceptable accountability rating?

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.

Staffing

Who manages the principal or school leader?

For a partnership school to be eligible for benefits, the partner must manage the principal or school leader.

Are staff employees of the district, or of the partner?

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.

Would all employees at a partnership school, regardless of employer, be eligible for district performance pay benefits?

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.

Must campus staff turn over as part of a Texas Partnership?

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.

Application Process

Can my district apply for benefits for more than one Texas Partnership?

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 (Attachment A) just once. However, they must submit the Local Campus Partner Application (Attachment B) and the Partnership Performance Contract (Attachment C) for each partnership school.