State commission to hear Midtown charter school proposal

File Photo. Parents at a Midtown Community School Initiative meeting in 2014.

File Photo. Parents at a Midtown Community School Initiative meeting in 2014.

The group hoping to open two elementary charter schools in Midtown in August 2016 hopes to take a step forward next week.

The Missouri Charter Public School Commission will hold a public hearing on Monday evening on the Citizens of the World Charter School proposal. On Tuesday morning, the commission will hold an open meeting to interview the school board, school leaders and others, and then it will vote on whether it will sponsor the school.

If that happens, the charter school proposal goes to the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for review and then to the State Board of Education for authorization this fall.

If the schools get all the necessary approvals, they could open next year.

The commission was established in 2011, but its commissioners were just confirmed in early 2015. This will be its first decision-making process to decide if a charter school proposal should move forward.

“Our job is to sponsor high-quality charter schools,” Robbyn Wahby, executive director of the Missouri Charter Public School Commission, explained. While universities and other groups have been able to sponsor charter schools under previous Missouri law, the new commission was set up to be solely devoted to “red light or green light” charter schools.

Missouri is among a growing number of states to develop statewide charter authorization commissions. The idea is that an independent group that is solely focused in oversight of charter schools is best positioned to make decisions about their authorization and implement best practices. Fifteen states and Washington D.C. now have such commissions.

Wahby said her group will review the application, hearing public testimony and then ask specific questions of the charter school bord and leadership.

“Our number one goal is to make sure we don’t open any schools that aren’t going to be high quality,” she said.

Citizens of the World came to Kansas City after responding to an RFP from local parents and members of the Kansas City Midtown Community School Initiative.

“We’re thrilled to take part in a transparent process that will bring the Midtown Kansas City community into the conversation and the approval process,” said Kristin Droege, Citizens of the World Kansas City’s executive director, 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 would take part in the conversation leading up to the approval of our schools.”

Citizens of the World says it focuses on serving economically and racially diverse student populations that reflect the demographics of their communities. It intends to open two K-1 elementary schools in August 2016, adding a grade each year. They intend to eventually be operating four schools including elementary, middle and high schools, at a full capacity of 1,650 students in the area bounded by State Line to the west, Prospect to the east, Union Station to the north and Brush Creek to the south.

Citizens’ immediate priorities include securing charter approval, identifying affordable facilities and continuing to engage families and local leaders.


  • The Missouri Charter Public School Commission will hold a public hearing to hear comments concerning the application for sponsorship to MCPSC by Citizens of the World Kansas City charter school. The hearing will take place on Monday, July 20, 2015, 5:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch Library, 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64112.
  • The Missouri Charter Public School Commission will hold an open meeting on Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 8:30 a.m. at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110.  The purpose of the meeting is to determine sponsorship of Citizens of the World Kansas City charter school.  The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. with an interview of the board, school leader and representatives from the partner organization. Following the interview, the Commission will go into closed session to discuss legal matters. Following the closed session, the Commission will return to open session to vote on the CWCKC request for sponsorship.

Leave a Comment