KCMO Charter School Closed; Offers Free Tuition

A company that did badly in operating a charter school is reinventing itself, and making good by students by offering them free tuition as a private school.

Imagine Schools, a nonprofit organization that operates charter schools in 9 states, operated the Southwest Charter School in KCMO. It did, that is, until its sponsor, Central Missouri State University, decided to not withdraw the school’s charter, citing financial and other problems.

That’s bad news. Then again, it’s good news: a school wasn’t doing well, and somebody stepped in and said “Look, there’s a problem here.”  How many school districts have had that sort or reality check? Not enough. Many continue to operate, receiving more money each year and continuing in the wrong direction.

The school is undergoing a reorganization, and will operate next school year as a private school called Renaissance Academy of Math and Science. Imagine will give students who were in the failed charter school tuition for the next year, during which it will seek a new sponsor.

This story in the KC Star leaves us wanting to ask more questions: how did the situation at Southwest get so bad? Read through the Imagine Schools web site, and you might think that they took over an existing school. Or perhaps not.

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