IDEA announces plans for future in Austin

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by JADE MINGUS / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

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kvue.com

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 18 at 6:41 PM

AUSTIN -- Administrators at IDEA say the public charter school will continue in Austin despite the Austin Independent School District’s decision Monday night to end its contract.

The physical location of their classrooms will change, but administrators say the mission will stay the same for students IDEA. School officials held a news conference Tuesday morning to discuss future plans after AISD voted to end its contract with IDEA the night before.

“IDEA will be open tomorrow and a long time into the future right here in Austin,” said IDEA Executive Director Larkin Tackett.

Idea will move from AISD-owned Allan Elementary in Southeast Austin to a new campus. The specific location will be announced as early as next month.

The school currently serves some 445 students in kindergarten through second grades plus a sixth grade prep.

“Eventually our plans here in Austin are to have a fully scaled K-12 campus, so next year we will add third and seventh graders, and the following year fourth and eighth graders,” said Tackett.

Now that the partnership with AISD has ended, IDEA will be funded in a new way. Part of the money will come from government grants, part of the money from the state and the rest from charitable donations.

Of the 28 IDEA schools in Texas just two are affiliated with public schools.

Administrators promise that IDEA students won't pay tuition.

“In every single case we have raised the capital to build those buildings. We have $60 million in construction going on right now, and I imagine it will be a similarly robust effort here in Austin,” said IDEA CEO Tom Torkelson.

IDEA parents say it's been a rocky few weeks waiting to hear the future of the school and explaining the situation to their children.

“I said, 'We are just going to get a new building. Everyone -- the community, your teachers, your friends you've grown to love, they will still be there, just a different location,'” said IDEA parent Brandee Davis.

IDEA says that new campus will be ready by the start of next school year.

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