Charter Schools

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About Charter Schools
Charter School legislation was passed in Missouri in 1998. In recognition and concern for the serious state of academic failure in the two largest and most populated school districts in the state, the state law permitted Charter Schools to be formed in St. Louis and KC Districts only. Sponsors who grant three or more charters must grant 1/3 of them to schools serving “high-risk” students or former dropouts. In the first year of state charter law operation, academic year 1999-2000, 17 charter schools opened in Missouri.

What are charter schools?
Charter schools are independent public schools. They are sponsored by designated local or state educational organizations who monitor their quality and integrity, but allow them to operate free from traditional bureaucratic and regulatory red tape that often stifles public schools. Freed from such micromanagement, charter schools design and deliver programs tailored to educational excellence and community needs. Because they are schools of choice, they are held to the highest level of accountability: consumer demand.

Who is the sponsor of Della Lamb Elementary Charter School?
UCM -- University of Central Missouri.

How do charter schools differ from traditional district public schools?
Charter schools operate from three basic principles:

Accountability: Charter schools are held accountable for how well they educate children in a safe and responsible environment. They are judged on how well they meet the student achievement goals established by their charter, and how well they manage the fiscal and operational responsibilities entrusted to them. They must operate lawfully and responsibly, with the highest regard for equity and excellence. They must report to the state, to their sponsor, to their board of directors, to their staff, and to their parents. If they fail to deliver academic excellence in a cost-efficient manner, they will be closed.

Choice: Charter Schools are schools of choice for parents.

Autonomy: Charter schools are freed from some of the traditional bureaucracy and regulations that divert a school’s energy and resources toward district compliance rather than excellence of programming. Educators can focus on setting/reaching high student academic standards.

How are charter schools funded?
Charter schools are public schools. Like district public schools, they are funded according to enrollment (also called average daily attendance, or ADA), and receive funding from the district and the state according to the number of students attending.

However, in Kansas City, charter schools do not receive the full equivalent of our district counterpart - the KCMO School District. The KCMO School District withholds $1,000 per charter school child per year from the charters to fund debt service on KC District buildings, to which the charter school children have no access.

Unlike KCMO School District schools, charter schools do not receive funding to cover the cost of securing a facility. Federal legislation provides a competitive RFP grant to help charters with start-up costs that may be used for academic supplies, textbooks and start-up expenses.

Do charter schools take money from public schools?
Charter schools are public schools. When a child leaves the KC School District to enter a charter school, state funding follows that child. This benefits the public school system by instilling a sense of accountability into the system regarding its services to the student and parents and its fiscal obligations.

Fiscally, charter schools must demonstrate economic efficiency and academic effectiveness in order to continue to operate.

Who can attend charter schools?
Charter schools are public. There is no tuition; they are nonsectarian. They may not limit their admission based on race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, gender, income level, proficiency in English, or athletic ability. Della Lamb serves a specific geographic area of Kansas City, MO.


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Special thanks to these funders for their support:
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