The state’s largest charter school network has been placed under a conservatorship

The Texas Education Agency has been investigating IDEA Public Schools for several years for questionable spending.

By Alexandra HartMarch 8, 2024 2:21 pm, ,

State officials have been investigating IDEA public schools since 2021. Now, they’ve placing the charter school network – Texas’ largest – under a conservatorship.

The move was announced Wednesday as a part of a settlement agreement between the Texas Education Agency and IDEA, which was under state investigation for allegations of improper spending and other misconduct. 

One of the big headlines was using money to access private jets, luxury drivers and things like that,” said Matthew Watkins, managing editor for news and politics at the Texas Tribune. “So [the TEA] will hire two people to kind of oversee and watch the finances of this charter school district, make sure they’re spending money in ways that the TEA approves of.” 

Watkins said the move came as a surprise to some who view the TEA as largely pro-charter school. 

It’s a big deal. You know, the TEA has been very aggressive in their oversight of public schools,” Watkins said. “People have looked at Mike Morath, the TEA commissioner, as a charter school supporter. Here he is taking a strong action against a charter school as well.” 

Hear more stories from the week in Texas politics in the audio player above.