August 22, 2023

Mercedes Schneider: Texas: BASIS Charter School Sells “VIP Car Line” for $2500+ a Pop

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You may think it’s bad enough that many charter schools don’t offer transportation, thereby screening out families that don’t have the resources for getting their child to school. But in Texas, one charter has found a way to do something even worse. Researcher and teacher Mercedes Schneider has the story. Reposted with permission. 

BASIS Austin, a grade 3 – 8 charter school and part of the multi-state BASIS charter school network that includes BASIS Texas Charter Schools, has decided to try to raise money by selling “VIP car line access start[ing] at $2500.”

Oh, and if you are part of a carpool, each carpool family would need to pony up $2,500 to qualify for VIP status. (If you are carpooling more for convenience and less for financial need, this Bud’s for you!)

Unless students walk to school or ride bicycles, their transportation likely involves the car line.

BASIS Charter Schools do not provide transportation. (But they do encourage carpool opportunities that will cost quite the fee for VIP car line status, mind you.)

According to the 2022-23 BASIS Austin School Brochure, parents are on their own to get their children to and from BASIS Charter Schools (page 19):

Therefore, it is logical to conclude that this self-gratulatory, “public” charter school“#1 Texas School District” enrolls no students who require transportation provided by a school or district.

How very “public school” of them.

I learned of this BASIS Austin “VIP car line” fundraiser originally on Twitter /X from a tweet by Network for Public Education (NPE) executive director, Carol Burris:

The posting below of the same news is from Redditt:

The individual identified above as having sent this message to BASIS Austin families is Roberto Ramirez, identified on the BASIS Austin website as “head of school.” However, according to Ramirez’s LinkedIn bio, in July 2022, he moved on from head of school and now holds the title of “Vice President, Development and Philanthropic Partnerships” for all of BASIS Texas Charter Schools, Inc.

Ramirez’s own postsecondary education is in economics, business administration, and he holds a Harvard Graduate School of Education “certificate” in school management and leadership.

In his LinkedIn bio, Ramirez writes that he is “passionate about student achievement and giving students access to a free, high-quality education without the barrier of tuition, entry exam, or a particular zip code.”

Removing the barrier of transportation did not make the cut, but using the Haves for their VIP-level money apparently does.

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