St. Louis charter school Preclarus will close its doors effective June 30, 2018. By mutual agreement between Preclarus Mastery Academy (PMA) and the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) Charter Schools Office, PMA will surrender its public-school charter and the Charter Schools Office will end its sponsorship of Preclarus.
The school has about 130 children in grades 4-8. Judging by information from the school’s website, roughly 16 Preclarus staff members will be affected by the decision.
State law requires public charter schools to have an area sponsor to operate.
UMSL’s move comes after several years of weak annual scoring the state uses to measure educational achievement of K-12 public schools. The state does not accredit charters but charter sponsors can choose to revoke a charter contract if the sponsor does not feel a charter school is meeting certain benchmarks.
William Mendelsohn, Executive Director of UMSL Charter Schools and Partnerships tells Missourinet the mutual decision was mostly based upon the school’s failure to meet academic expectations that both parties agreed to. A drop in enrollment that would have negatively impacted the school’s finances was also a factor.
Earlier this year, UMSL tried to close the school, but Preclarus officials won an appeal.
UMSL’s Charter Schools Office and Preclarus Mastery Academy will collaborate with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to ensure that all members of the Preclarus community – its students, families, and school staff – smoothly transition to new schools and/or roles in St. Louis.
Based upon achievement scores released last month by DESE, other charters could be in jeopardy of losing their sponsorships or essentially put on probation by their sponsors. Current state law allows charter schools to operate in St. Louis, Kansas City and any other unaccredited districts.