State commission agrees to sponsor Midtown charter schools

Citizens of the World charter school administrators and board members testifying before the State Charter Public School Commission.

Citizens of the World charter school administrators and board members testifying before the State Charter Public School Commission.

Midtown’s proposed new charter school effort has a sponsor and is ready to go to the State Board of Education for approval to open two schools in fall of 2016.Citizens of the World has received  from the Missouri Charter Public School Commission. The commission is a new state body that reviews charter school plans and makes recommendations to the State Board of Education. The state board is expected to approve the charter in September or October.

If that happens, Citizens of the World intends to open two K-1 elementary schools in the fall of 2016 and then add additional grades each year. In the long term, it plans to operate four schools including elementary, middle and high schools in the area from State Line to Prospect and Union Station to Brush Creek.

“We’re thrilled to have gained the full support of the state charter commission after a healthy dialogue in the commission’s public meeting with members of the Kansas City community,” said Kristin Droege, Citizens of the World Kansas City’s executive director said in a press release. “Our Kansas City schools were born of the community and a partnership with parents who have taken the initiative to bring even more families high-quality public school options, so it makes complete sense that they took part in the conversation leading up to the approval of our schools.”

The Charter Public School Commission heard input from the community in Kansas City this month and then interviewed Citizens of the World board members and administrators. But the Kansas City School District asked to give input before the commission made its decision, so the vote was delayed until today.

The district raised concerns in three areas: the number of schools and charter schools already operating in Midtown; problems with other charter school management companies which have operated in Kansas City; and the structure of the new charter’s board of directors.

A group of Midtown parents and others called the Midtown Community School Initiative (MSCI) has been working for several years to bring a high-performing public charter school to this part of town.

Missouri is the latest state to develop a statewide charter authorizer to provide independent oversight to its charter schools.  Currently, 15 states and Washington, D.C. have independent commissions.

Citizens of the World said its immediate priorities include securing charter approval, identifying affordable facilities and continuing to engage families and local leaders.



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