Midtowners praise charter school effort before state commission

untitled-(26-of-27)Midtown community members told the Missouri Charter Public School Commission they like the Citizens of the World Charter School proposal and would like to see it move forward.

The comments came at a public hearing last evening. The statewide commission is in Kansas City to gather information before deciding whether it will sponsor the proposed charter school.

If approved, Citizens of the World plans to open two Midtown K-1 elementary charter schools in the fall of 2016; then add new grades each year. Under a new state authorizing structure, getting approval from the commission is the first step the schools need for official approval.

A group of Midtown parents called the Midtown Community School Initiative began the conversation about starting a charter school several years ago. One of its members, Andrew Johnson of Hyde Park, said his group issued an RFP asking for schools to locate here and when the group saw a proposal from California- based Citizens of the World, it seemed perfectly aligned with what the local parents had dreamed of.

“They blew our minds with how they articulated what their classes would look like,” he said. Johnson said both groups are focused on academic excellence, committed to diversity and a strong partnership with the local community.

“We usually deal with diversity as a problem, but they’re approaching it as an opportunity,” one resident told the commission.

Volker resident Paul Fredricks said he sees real momentum in Kansas City rights now, but “the missing link is the schools.”

Several speakers mentioned that they had watched for decades while parents moved out of Midtown as their children reached school age. But parents like Amy Bhesania told the commission they chose to live in Midtown and want to change that trend.

“I am happy and excited to have a choice in schools for my son,” she said.

This morning, the commission will interview the Citizens of the World board, school leaders and others and then vote on the request for sponsorship.

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