Low performance levels have led to a Kansas City public charter school losing its current sponsor next year and two others have been put on a one-year probationary period. Dr. Vicky Hughes with the University of Central Missouri, which sponsors Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology, tells Missourinet the board has chosen to let the charter agreement expire on June 30, 2018.
“They’re currently looking for another sponsor,” says Hughes. “So, our university is allowing that charter term to expire and they’re looking at hopefully, with other options, opening a school with another sponsor.”
Hughes says Benjamin Banneker has “consistently and persistently” non-performing in its academics.
Most of the state’s charter school sponsors are at capacity and are not accepting new charter applications. State law requires public charter schools to have an area sponsor to operate.
According to Benjamin Banneker’s website, the school serves students pre-K through 8th grade. It has about 370 students and 47 employees.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City has put two of the charter schools it sponsors on a one-year probation. Pathway Academy and Academy for Integrated Arts in Kansas City have been put on notice for their poor academic performance. Dr. Phyllis Chase with UMKC tells Missourinet a final decision is expected to be made near the one-year mark.
Earlier this month, the University of Missouri-St. Louis announced that a mutual agreement had been met with Preclarus Mastery Academy (PMA) in St. Louis to end the sponsorship of PMA. Preclarus will officially close its doors on June 30.
In Missouri, charter schools are allowed in Kansas City, St. Louis and any unaccredited school districts. St. Louis has about 11,000 charter school students and Kansas City has about 11,600.
Some state lawmakers and Republican Governor Eric Greitens favor a statewide expansion of charter schools, which are publicly funded schools that operate independently of traditional public schools. Some of the state’s 39 charter schools have consistently performed exceptionally well while others repeatedly struggle with academic achievement. Charter schools do not operate under the same educational metrics as Missouri’s traditional public schools. The sponsor sets the standards for its charter schools. The two-tiered system tends to draw most of the opposition that exists.