YES Prep considers scratching plans to operate schools in Tenn.
The move would be a test case, to see if they could replicate their success in Tennessee which had become a hotbed of education reform, blessed with start-up funds from the Obama administration's Race to the Top grant. [...] after raising millions from private donors and hiring staff, YES officials are considering abandoning their plans to operate schools in Tennessee's state-run school district. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Houston has backed the concept, and matching bills to launch an "opportunity school district" here were filed by Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, and Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston. In many cases, charter school operators step in; they run tuition-free public schools but are granted more flexibility. Bernal and Bill Durbin, superintendent for the Memphis expansion, have expressed concerns that student enrollment would be too low to support their vision to run six schools that would succeed academically and generate enough per-pupil funding from the state. Other problems in Memphis include securing adequate facilities, being charged unexpected fees from the state and pending legislation that would be less friendly to the charter operators, Durbin said. Barbic, the founding superintendent of Tennessee's Achievement School District, wrote an opinion piece in the Houston Chronicle in May 2014 expressing support for Texas' effort to create a similar system.