Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls

Tougher expectations from sponsors lead to fewer charter school applications in St. Louis

published on St. Louis Public Radio KWMU website

The pace of new charter schools seeking to open in St. Louis has slowed, according to the universities that act as sponsors and receive formal applications.

While the reasons vary, charter sponsors say they’ve learned more about what it takes to successfully open and sustain a school both financially and academically, which is helping them weed out weak applications.

“We’re not letting a thousand flowers bloom,” said Robbyn Wahby, executive director of the Missouri Charter Public School Commission.

Charter schools — which are tuition-free, independent public schools — first opened in Missouri in 1999 as an alternative to the then-struggling St. Louis and Kansas City school districts. About a third of St. Louis’ public school kids attend charter schools, which are required by state law to have a sponsor that’s...

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