The University of Central Missouri's role as sponsor to eight public charter schools enhances its ability to provide a comprehensive, engaging teacher preparation program and contributes to its mission to serve at-risk students. UCM has sponsored charter schools since 1999.
The sponsorship of these schools in Kansas City, MO benefits UCM's teacher education students by offering them opportunities to gain hands-on experience within an urban setting. Since 2003, thousands of UCM students have acquired field experience in the UCM sponsored charter schools.
In Missouri, charter schools are located within the boundaries of the Kansas City Public Schools and the St. Louis Public Schools. Charter schools may also be located in other Missouri districts dependent upon the accreditation of each district.
As of October 2017, there are 21 LEAs in Kansas City operating within 39 buildings and 18 LEAs in St. Louis operating within 35 buildings.
Nationally, 43 states and Washington, D.C. have charter school legislation and provide educational services in 6700 plus charter schools to over 2.9 million students.
A charter school is a public school located within the boundary of an existing school district that is governed by a separate, independent school board. Charter schools are free and open to all students in the districts where they operate. The charter school board has the responsibility for only that particular charter school. In exchange for the independence from the surrounding school district, charter schools operate under contracts (or “charters”) and are accountable for specific results. The charters outline specific academic and non-academic goals that the charter school must reach or risk being closed by the sponsor. A charter school could also be closed for failing to operate in a responsible manner.
A “sponsor” is an entity that, under state law, is allowed to open, oversee, renew
and close charter schools. The sponsor is the entity that has the authority to approve
a charter school to open and then holds the charter school accountable for all conditions
in their charter. In other states, sponsors are called “authorizers”.
The charter school sponsor provides oversight by:
• Monitoring the outcomes for which the school agrees to be held responsible.
• Determining the manner in which progress toward the outcomes will be measured.
• Assessing the school’s ability to reach its goals.
• Taking action toward renewing the charter, placing the school on probation, or revoking the charter.
Charter public schools are accountable in many of the same ways traditional public schools are held accountable. However, unique accountability expectations exist for charter schools.