IDEA charter schools sued Attorney General Ken Paxton last week to halt the release of records of its expense accounts sought by a local news outlet. The Progress Times—a publication covering the lower Rio Grande Valley—filed an open-records for those documents more than a year ago. In particular, it sought records for an IDEA executive paid $169,000 a year and, according to his contract, “the actual and incidental costs incurred by the Chief Financial Officer related to the bi-weekly commuting to/from California and/or as otherwise necessary, and the reasonable living and transportation expenses while in the Rio Grande Valley performing his duties for IDEA.”
While the attorney general agreed that some of the documents should be released—since the state funds charter schools with taxpayer dollars—IDEA stymied that order by claiming its central office in McAllen had been closed from July 2020 to June 2021. When employees returned to the office, IDEA still refused to release the records and instead filed the lawsuit.
IDEA previously faced widespread criticism for its extravagant spending, and this lawsuit is a prime example of an unscrupulous tactic used by charter schools—claiming to be public schools when seeking taxpayer dollars, then claiming to be private entities when trying to shield themselves from public scrutiny.