This summer the school has been holding parent meetings, campus celebrations and field trips for incoming students in addition to prepping the Allan campus for the new IDEA programming. It also has been contacting students to ensure they are still coming to IDEA and has offered free uniforms to students who refer new students to the program — a move that has upset some opponents of the charter who say IDEA should not, per its agreement with the district, be competing for students.
“It’s recruiting, not community engagement, and for them not to admit that it’s a problem is a problem, and it’s worsening the relationship with the community,” said Vincent Tovar, a member of the group Pride of the Eastside.
For the relationship to improve, he said, the district needs to make sure there is equity between the charter and the other schools in the area.
“How much are they going to be spending per student?” Tovar asked. “This is something we are going to be closely monitoring once they are up and running.”
As part of that effort, he said, the charter is developing a local governance structure to ensure Austin has representation on the IDEA governing board as well as locally.
Though the charter does have plans to expand elsewhere in Texas — it aims to grow from 28 to 56 schools by 2017, with 20 of those in San Antonio — Tackett said the charter does not currently have plans to expand in Austin.