DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Some parents in North Texas are pushing the State Legislature to give more support to charter schools in the DFW area. A meeting was held Friday morning in Pleasant Grove, where those parents handed over some 5,000 handwritten letters to be delivered to lawmakers in Austin.
Across the state, more than 140,000 students are on waiting lists to attend charter schools.
Dana Hartfield said that she grabbed the last spot at Pleasant Grove Primary for her 6-year-old daughter. The switchover from a private school saves her family thousands of dollars each year in out-of-pocket costs. But not all parents are lucky enough to get one of these coveted spots.
Charter schools differ from private schools, but many provide top-notch education for low-income or minority families. They are tuition-free with open enrollment, but the desire to attend one far exceeds the number of slots available. “It’s so important for them to get the proper education, because these kids need to be able to test with people who’s in Frisco, in Plano, who’s in Mesquite, and they need to be able to be taught on the same grade level,” said Hartfield.
The State Legislature is debating school funding, and has several ideas on the table aimed at cutting costs.
Charter schools already receive less state funding than traditional public schools — about $1,000 less per child. Many parents hope to get more funding for charter schools. “These parents are here to say, ‘We found a great public option for our kids and we’re really happy here,'” said Sara Ortega, communications director with Uplift Education. “We hope that we can make some movement and close that funding gap this legislative session.”