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Columbia Board of Education president urges staff to oppose charter school bill



Columbia Board of Education President Suzette Waters sent a letter to Columbia Public School employees, urging them to voice their opposition to a bill that could bring charter schools to Boone County.

ABC 17 News received the letter from an email from a CPS spokesperson. Boone County superintendents previously voiced their opposition to the bill.

Senate Bill 727  mentions that school districts in Boone County would be added to the list of districts where a charter school could be operated. The bill moved past a Missouri House special committee on Tuesday.

A charter school is a free, public school that operates independently of any school district, according to the Missouri Charter Public School Commission. Families can choose to enroll children in charter schools and the schools receive funds per student, similar to that of a regular school district.

“Public school funding is based on enrollment, so if a student leaves CPS for a charter school, they take their funding with them. Here’s the kicker – they take not only state funding; they also take LOCAL funding.  The number of students being educated stays the same, but the money allotted gets split between two parallel systems. CPS will still have the same buildings, fixed costs, and staff (since not all students who leave for a charter school would come from the same grade level or the same building), but we will have less revenue coming in,” Waters wrote in her letter.

“We oppose the diversion of public money to a duplicate education system that has not proven to produce any better outcomes for students and, in fact, has failed in many cases. We object to the investment in this duplicate system that is not subject to the same assessment or reporting requirements as we are. When charters get to pick and choose which students they take and which rules they follow, to say it is not a level playing field is an understatement.”

Article Topic Follows: Columbia Public Schools

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Ryan Shiner


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