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Texas House Passes Bill to Increase Charter Cap

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

The Texas House passed a bill Thursday that would increase the amount of charter schools across the state.

Right now, Texas caps the number of charters—or publicly funded, privately operated schools—to 215.  Senate bill 2 would increase the number of charter licenses allowed to 305 by 2019.

Senator Dan Patrick’s original bill lifted the cap entirely, but Senator Royce West amended the bill to keep a cap in place based on concerns that education spending would favor charter schools over traditional public schools.

The House approved 15 of the 20 amendments today, including Representative Bennett Ratliff’s amendment that would exempt charter schools for special needs children from the cap. He proposes the creation of 5 additional charters designed for children with disabilities. He calls them magnet charters schools, but says they would not differ greatly from public special needs schools.

"They still have to comply with every rule and regulation that applies to special education currently," Rep. Ratliff says.

The bill will now move for a third reading.