Waco: Charter school superintendent awaits word on funding impact

(Photo by Ke'Sha Lopez)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Dorothy Marstallar knew at some point Texas lawmakers would have to tackle the seemingly insurmountable public school funding problem.

She said she just didn't know how or when they would do it.

As superintendent of the EOAC Waco Charter School on North 25th Street, she knows how pricey education is.

"They have to do something because you can't as they say keep kicking the can down the road. Expenses are rising. Teachers are needing more money. So does staff, just the cost of educating the child."

The new law will increase the amount schools get per student.

It could go up some 20 percent.

According the HB3's summary, the state will now fund a full-day pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-old students.

In the past, if a campus wanted to offer a full-day, the state and district would split the bill in half.

Marstaller said, that's what her campus had to do because she says the need is especially great for her students.

The majority of her 208 pre-k students are Hispanic and either don't speak or barely speak English.

Studies show, the earlier a child is in the classroom learning, the better the academic outcomes.

Salaries are also part of the new funding equation, so educators are expecting a bump in pay.

The state is also offering incentives for districts who start a merit pay program for teachers.

Marstellar said, it's important to no forget the other instructors in the classroom.

"We've needed to do something for a long time. When I say that I mean the aids, all of that support staff here at the campus."

The school is trying to offer competitive pay.

Waco Charter School is six blocks from Waco ISD's Provident Heights Elementary School and five blocks from Waco Montessori School.

Marstellar knows finding out the exactly dollar amount her campus will receive is a waiting game, one that she is familiar with.

She said she has nearly 20 years’ experience in school finance and they've come so far.

Officials with the Texas Education Agency said Wednesday, they are now interpreting the law and have already started rolling out instructions on how this all affects each district.

Additional funding can also give schools the flexibility in other areas.

Marstellar said her campus also needs another pre-k class, an instructional specialist in reading and science, and a behavioral interventionist.