Three small districts near El Paso passed resolutions opposing the dramatic expansion of the charter sector, which is driven by federal funds awarded by Betsy DeVos to the IDEA charter chain. 

As charter schools expand in El Paso, fueled by a sizable federal grant, three of the county’s smaller districts are hoping recent resolutions will prevent students from leaving and encourage lawmakers to do more to quell charter growth.

On Wednesday, San Elizario ISD’s board became the latest to approve a resolution opposing charter school expansion in the region. The Clint and Tornillo ISD boards approved nearly identical resolutions in late June.

The resolutions come just months after IDEA Public Schools won an unprecedented $116 million over five years from the federal government to create 38 new schools across three states, 14 of which are slated for El Paso.

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That growth takes away much needed public funds from districts already grappling with enrollment declines, the Clint, Tornillo and San Elizario superintendents said, and the financial impact is particularly felt by smaller districts.

“We have to be conscientious that if we don’t take initiative to inform our communities, then you have great marketing teams from these charter schools coming in and painting a picture … that gives the appearance that they’re better than public schools,” San Elizario ISD Superintendent Jeannie Meza-Chavez said.

Well, of course, their marketing materials will claim they are better than public schools; they will claim that 100% of their students will go to college, but they won’t tell parents about their high attrition rates, nor will they tell them how long their graduates survive in college.

This is Beto O’Rourke’s district, but the school boards can’t look to him for help. He told the NEA meeting in Houston that he opposes “for-profit charters and vouchers,” but not the kind of non-profit charters that are about to damage the public schools in his own community.