McALLEN – With the snip of a blue ribbon with the yellow light bulb logo printed on it IDEA Public Schools dedicated their newest campus in the Tres Lagos community.
This marks the 60th and 61st school which already has 500 students enrolled.
“I cannot open these schools fast enough,” Founder of IDEA Public Schools Tom Torkelson said. “We had 50,000 applications last year and we only opened up enough schools for about 10,000 students.”
To keep up with the fast growth IDEA Public Schools will open 18 schools in 10 months from now.
This year IDEA Public Schools also became the largest charter school system in the United States.
IDEA Tres Lagos came with the help of more than $1 million in donations from Mike and Lori Rhodes, the master planners of the community. This isn't the first time people have been generous with the school. Bill and Melinda Gates, Mike and Susan Dell and The Waltons are just a few private individuals who have stepped up and donated more than $50 million over the years.
The next IDEA campus to open will be in Elsa, Brownsville and Pharr. The Tres Lagos Campus is part of the Upper Valley district which encompasses from Donna to the west end of the Rio Grande Valley.
Torkelson said what sets IDEA apart from other school districts is being 100 percent focused on college matriculation. With 670 graduates in the 2106-2017 school year 669 of those students are currently enrolled in a university.
“The most expensive college degree is the one you don't get,” he said. “You get that college degree and it can really change your life.”