SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved a new initiative Monday night that the superintendent said will help keep some schools alive. The board approved partnerships with four non-profit organizations that will transform 18 SAISD schools into in-district charter schools.

The non-profit organizations will create a governing board that will oversee the principal and staff, curriculum, and other school procedures. The district said the goals of the charters are designed to provide expertise and the non-profit leaders will be in place to preserve the charter model.

However, some teachers said the district is handing over the schools to these non-profit organizations.

“In our opinion, it’s part of a total agenda that has to do with privatizing the schools, taking control away from the community and giving that control to other entities,” said Shelley Potter with the San Antonio Teacher Alliance.

The school board said they are not giving total control to the non-profits and that district leaders will be monitoring the schools and governing boards to ensure they’re still meeting school district standards. The district said the new partnerships won’t be changing any services provided to the students or access to programs. In addition, all employees would remain SAISD employees.

“The students at the school won’t notice anything different. It’s their principal, it’s their teachers, it’s the staff they’re used to, but the program will only get stronger and they’ll have a lot more flexibility on how they’re implementing the program,” said SAISD Chief Communications Officer Leslie Price.

Superintendent Pedro Martinez said during the meeting the district “is not compromising their values.”

The initiative started with the Annual Call for Quality Schools through the district’s Office of Innovation. Principals proposed a plan to transform their campus and submitted the plan to the district.  According to the district, teachers and other school staff had the opportunity to voice their opinions on the plans before they were taken to the board for approval.

The new partnerships may also bring more funding to the 18 schools. Under Senate Bill 1882, schools in collaboration with outside organizations are eligible for additional funding per student.

The extra funding is why other teachers say they support the new partnerships. “It’s an opportunity to get funding we don’t have,” Burbank High School Principal Miguel Angel Elizondo said.

To see a list of the non-profit organizations and the new partnerships with the SAISD schools, click here.