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On May 30, 1995, the Texas Legislature enacted Senate Bill 1, a revision of the Texas Education Code (TEC).  A key area of innovation in the new code was a provision that created the public charter school program.  Charter schools are secular, tuition free public schools.  The purposes of the Texas charter school program (TEC §12.001) are to:
  • improve student learning;
  • increase the choice of learning opportunities within the public school system;
  • create professional opportunities that would attract new teachers to the public school system;
  • establish a new form of accountability for public schools; and
  • encourage different and innovative learning methods.
The commissioner of education (the commissioner) holds the authority to award subchapter D and E charters (TEC §12.101 and 12.152) and is required to adopt an annual open-enrollment charter application form and procedure that must be used to apply for a charter, as well as the evaluation criteria to be used in determining whether to award a charter. It is the commitment of the commissioner of education to attract quality charter proposals reflective of the ability to establish schools that operate in an academically, fiscally, and legally sound manner that provide innovative, high quality educational opportunities for all students.  The information requested in this application aims to enable the commissioner to make informed decisions regarding the award of charter.

Applicant Information Sessions
The TEA will host applicant information sessions which will provide details about applying for and holding a charter in the state of Texas, the contents of this RFA, the application preparation guidelines and submission requirements for both electronic and hard copy application documents.
 
At least one member of the governing board of the sponsoring entity requesting the charter must attend one of these sessions.  It is recommended that the person(s) with primary responsibility for preparing and submitting the application also attend one of these information sessions. More information on the applicant information sessions will be available on the TEA website: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=3475.
For questions related to the RFA or evaluation process, or timeline, please contact Rick Salvo: Rick.Salvo@tea.state.tx.us.
For questions about using this application portal, contact Kristen Vandawalker: kristenv@qualitycharters.org.
If you are having technical difficulties using the portal, contact support@fluidware.com and the software developers can address your questions.  PLEASE COPY RICK SALVO.
 
Nineteenth Generation Open-Enrollment Charter RFA Timeline
TASK DATE
Nineteenth Generation RFA Published January 24, 2014
The RFA will be posted in the Texas Register, on the TEA charter schools website, and distributed via email to the TEA’s RFA ListServ.
Online Application Portal Launch January 31, 2014
The online application portal tea-charterapp.fluidreview.com, which will include all required templates and will provide resource documents for applicants including the RFA and evaluation criteria, will be launched in advance of the Applicant Information Sessions.
Applicant Information Sessions February 7 and March 7, 2014
TEA will offer an in-person applicant orientation and information session twice. Applicants should register in advance at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=3475. These sessions will include information on operating a charter school in Texas, orientation to the Nineteenth Generation application and evaluation process, overview of the RFA and evaluation criteria, demonstration of the online application portal and correct preparation of the hard-copy applications, and ample time for applicants to ask questions regarding the above.
Notice of Intent Due February 21, 2014
For the Nineteenth Generation RFA, it is suggested that applicants submit the OPTIONAL Notice of Intent to Apply for a Nineteenth Generation Charter (NOI). NOIs will be accepted only via the online application portal tea-charterapp.fluidreview.com.  No hard copies are required. The NOI and the information provided therein are non-binding and introduce your applicant team to TEA staff.
Application Deadline March 27, 2014—5:00 P.M. CST
Complete applications must be submitted via the online application portal, AND hard copy submissions RECEIVED by the TEA by 5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST) on Thursday, March 27, 2014.
Eligibility and Completeness Reviews April 2 - 4, 2014
TEA staff will review all applications for eligibility and completeness before distributing for external review.
Eligibility and Completeness Determinations Distributed April 14, 2014
Eligibility and completeness determinations will be distributed by TEA via email. Applicants who believe the TEA’s determination to be incorrect have five days to respond in writing. No new documents will be accepted.
Deadline for Applicant Responses April 21,2014
Applicant responses to eligibility and completeness determinations received by the deadline will be reviewed, and TEA staff will make final determinations. All applications, regardless of status, will be posted to the TEA website in full after the determinations have been made.
External Application Review May - June 2014
Each eligible application will be distributed to external evaluators, who will read and analyze each application and submit a completed evaluation form to the TEA.
Internal Application Review June - July 2014
Each eligible application will be evaluated by TEA staff.
Interviews July 21-23, 2014
Each eligible applicant will be interviewed by TEA staff. Interviews will ONLY be held on these days; therefore, applicants are requested to keep this timeframe open on their calendars.
Commissioner Proposes Award of Nineteenth Generation Charters August 2014
The commissioner will announce his decisions on all eligible applications.
SBOE Actions on Proposed Nineteenth Generation Charters September 2014
The SBOE has up to 90 days to veto any charter proposed by the commissioner.  If the SBOE vetoes the award of a charter, there is no appeal. If no action is taken by the SBOE within that timeframe, the charter is awarded.