It is very disappointing to read recent reports missing key background information on five Missouri charter schools meeting the state’s definition of “financially stressed” schools. The State Board of Education and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education are well aware that it will take three years for a new charter school to build the financial reserve capacity to be above this distinction.
All five of the Missouri charter schools in the recent reports have been in operation for less than three years. All five of these schools have stated that they will have the reserves to be above the “financially stressed” distinction by the end of their third school year.
The Missouri Charter Public School Association fully supports financial accountability for the state’s charter schools. We led the fight during the most recent legislative session to pass legislation that, in part, requires charter schools meeting the distinction of “financially stressed” to make assurances that their students’ education would continue unaffected and that the schools develop a detailed budget plan with their sponsor to move out of this distinction.
What we do not support is the State Board of Education discussing newly operating charter schools given a near impossible to reach distinction. This action by the State Board of Education that unnecessarily has caused panic among the schools’ parents and surrounding communities is inappropriate. We hope that a more collaborative approach that better understands the basic model of charter school education is taken in the future.
Dr. Douglas Thaman
Missouri Charter Public School Association