Summary of the Texas Parent “Trigger” Bill
The Parent Trigger Bill allows the parents of children who are assigned to one particular public school to petition for a change in management of their school. If the parents of a majority of the children assigned to that school sign the petition, the bill requires that the school district negotiate with the parents to enact their request. The petition can request one of three options, which are discussed below.
Option 1: It asks for the management of the school to be given to a private management company, i.e. a charter school. This is called a “Campus Charter School” because unlike the typical open-enrollment charter school, this school has an “assignment zone”. The charter school management company would be named in the petition.
Option 2: It asks that the school campus be permanently closed. A scholarship program would then provide the schools for the children. The district would award each student in the assignment zone a scholarship to attend the school of the parents’ choice whether public or private.
Option 3: It would be a combination of Options 1 & 2. A campus charter school would be established, but any child could receive a scholarship to attend another school if the parents believe that that school would be a better learning environment for their child.
The school district may be hesitant to enter into an agreement with the parents. To address this problem, the bill would give the school district 60 days to reach an agreement with the parents. If an agreement cannot be finalized, the parents could then appeal to the State Board of Education to establish an agreement. If the agreement were established with the State Board of Education, the school district would have to surrender control of that school campus to the state for the benefit of the children.
In the case that a scholarship program were established, the school district would be required to begin monthly payments to the school that each parent had chosen. If the district falls two months behind on any of their scholarship payments, then the State Board of Education would fund the scholarship program.
Finally, the bill would allow the state to “recapture” the funds to operate the program from the school district if the state desired, in order to avoid any fiscal note for the state in operating the program.