In his State of the State address last January, Governor Nixon called on the legislature to send to his desk “a comprehensive charter school accountability bill that holds all charter schools – and their sponsors – to high standards of academic achievement and financial integrity.”
SB 576 answers this call by requiring sponsors and schools to sign a performance contract that is the basis for measuring the schools’ performance. SB 576 also answers the Governor’s call by requiring intervention by a charter school sponsor if the school is identified by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as a persistently lowest achieving school, has a high school program that fails to maintain a 70% graduation rate or is chronically underperforming the district’s Annual Performance Report score.
This legislation also greatly increases transparency in a charter school’s agreements with outside management companies and requires a formal evaluation of charter school sponsors every three years by the State Board of Education.
SB 576 also expands access to charter schools for Missouri students in a manner recognizing that families in unaccredited and provisionally accredited districts are seeking alternative public education options, while only vesting sponsorship authority with the locally elected school boards in fully accredited districts.
SB 576 passed the State Senate by a wide, bi- partisan vote of 31-2 and the State House by a similar bi- partisan margin of 99-54. Governor Nixon should sign SB 576 into law.
Dr. Douglas Thaman
Missouri Charter Public School Association