Nonprofit ResponsiveEd seeks to open charter high school site in Wichita Falls

·3 min read

A nonprofit organization is looking to expand into Wichita Falls with an open-enrollment charter high school.

The Premier High Schools campus would have a maximum of 250 students, according to an impact statement. ResponsiveEd, a Lewisville-based nonprofit organization, operates Premier High Schools' charter.

Wichita Falls ISD officials believe the campus would negatively impact the district financially.

It is of note that the district's state funding is based on average daily attendance.

Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths told trustees during Tuesday's School Board meeting that Premier Charter High Schools submitted an expansion amendment to the Texas education commissioner for a Wichita Falls site.

The charter school organization notified WFISD the district might be adversely impacted financially as part of the process of adding a campus.

WFISD staff members and the School Board are required to let the TEA know whether the charter school would have a major impact on the district and how by completing a form.

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School Board members voted 5-0 to complete the form by saying the new charter high school would negatively affect WFISD.

School Board President Mike Rucker and Place 4 Trustee Dale Harvey were not present at Tuesday's meeting.

At-large Trustee Katherine McGregor wanted to know if it would negatively impact the charter high school coming to Wichita Falls if the district notifies the TEA about an expected negative impact.

“I think it just informs TEA that we have stated that we don’t like it," Griffiths said.

Wichita Falls ISD Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths speaks on an issue during a school board meeting at the WFISD Education Center on Friday, December 3, 2021.
Wichita Falls ISD Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths speaks on an issue during a school board meeting at the WFISD Education Center on Friday, December 3, 2021.

This isn't the first time Premier High Schools has looked to expand into Wichita Falls.

A ResponsiveEd representative attended a School Board meeting when trustees also approved a negative response to a proposed charter school's impact, according to an April 3, 2016, Times Record News story.

The nonprofit's plan then was to open a new high school during the 2017-18 school year. WFISD carried out the district's plans to open the $35.75 million Career Education in August 2017.

This time, two new high schools are under construction for WFISD.

Wichita Falls Legacy High School in the southeast part of the city and Wichita Falls Memorial High School in the southwest are slated to open in fall 2024.

Bright Ideas was the last charter school to operate in Wichita Falls, according to the 2016 TRN story.

The state closed Bright Ideas in 2015 at the end of the academic year — one of 14 underperforming open-enrollment charter schools. Their charters were revoked.

Charter schools are public, free and open to all children, according to premierhighschools.com.

In addition, they do not have special requirements for admittance or attendance zones, and they are not associated with any religion, according to the website.

ResponsiveEd operates over 80 free, public schools throughout Texas, according to responsiveed.com.

ResponsiveEd operates six types of schools, according to the website. Premier High Schools offers a blended-learning, college-preparatory program.

Campuses aim to help students catch up on credits, graduate early, begin a career, go to college and enlist in the military through personalized programs, according to the website.

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Trish Choate, enterprise watchdog reporter for the Times Record News, covers education, courts, breaking news, politics and more. Contact Trish with news tips at tchoate@gannett.com. Her Twitter handle is @Trishapedia.

This article originally appeared on Wichita Falls Times Record News: Nonprofit organization looking at opening charter high school in WF

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