Crestview Charter Consternation

RECEIVED Fri., April 24, 2020

Dear Editor,
    Why are they putting a charter school in my neighborhood during a pandemic?
    I live in Brentwood/Crestview, and I am a parent of four. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to continue working from home, but, like a lot of parents, I’ve been overwhelmed trying to balance work and family.
    And I just found out they’re building a charter school in Crestview, about a half-mile from my kids’ elementary school, Brentwood Elementary.
    The saying goes, “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” and the Basis charter schools corporation seems to have taken that to heart.
    I am a proud public school parent, and it is my view that charter schools undermine public education in America. Charter schools take kids and funding out of the public system, but operate themselves under very little accountability. In the case of Basis, from Arizona, while the schools themselves operate as nonprofits, they are “managed” by a for-profit corporation called Basis Educational Group, which is owned by Basis schools founders, Michael and Olga Block. $17 million of Texas taxpayer dollars went to this company last year.
    It is shocking that now, during the global pandemic and economic crisis, Basis chooses to expand into our neighborhood. The AISD Board cannot meet publicly to deliberate or respond. Parents and members of the community cannot meet in person to learn and discuss the impact of this corporation entering our community.
    The Texas Education Agency must block the establishment of a Basis charter school in Austin now.
Elias Ponvert
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