After nearly two decades of sponsoring Kansas City, Mo., charter schools, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) to end its sponsorships.
The Kansas City Star reports that the university will officially relinquish its sponsorships May 31, 2019, for eight charters schools. They have already started looking for new sponsors, with help from the university.
“By relinquishing its sponsorship role, UMKC can focus on doing what it is designed to do best,” said Justin Perry, dean of the UMKC School of Education, which specializes in urban education.
The eight affected charters schools: University Academy, Pathway Academy, Genesis School, Lee A. Tolbert Community Academy, Frontier Schools, Brookside Charter, Allen Village School and Academy for Integrated Arts. They have already started looking for new sponsors, with UMKC’s help.
The university will continue to work with charter schools and as well as Kansas City Public School District schools, offering such help as professional development, dual-credit programs for high schools, and better preparing students for jobs and college.
UMKC took on the role of sponsor in 1999, when charters were established in Missouri.
Doug Thaman, executive director of the Missouri Charter Public School Association, a charter advocacy group, asserts that the transition will have “zero impact on the school parents and students."
The university ‘s decision to no longer sponsor charters has nothing to do with the academic standing of the schools, officials say.
It will be up to the school boards for each charter to decide on new sponsors, but the Missouri Public Charter Commission has been suggested. The commission was established by Missouri lawmakers in 2012 after some universities questioned whether oversight and accountability were the best use of their resources.
Thaman says University Academy has already decided to use the commission as its new sponsor, but the other seven schools are still in discussions with other possible sponsors.