Four new charter schools for St. Louis find sponsor

Sunday, January 27, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- The University of Missouri-Rolla has agreed to sponsor four new charter schools in St. Louis.

The university's tentative approval of the schools could signal a decreasing reluctance among sponsors toward opening new charter schools in Missouri.

The four schools approved by the University of Missouri-Rolla are tentatively called the Confluence Academies. Edison Schools, the largest for-profit education company in the nation, would run the schools.

Edison operates two schools in Kansas City and 136 nationwide with more than 75,000 children. The company's leading rival -- Chancellor Beacon Academies -- runs 81 schools, including three in St. Louis.

If the Missouri school board approves the plan, as many as 832 pupils could enroll this fall in three schools serving grades kindergarten through eighth. A high school is slated for the following year, bringing total enrollment to 936.

Jocelyn Strand, who monitors charter schools for the state, said some kinks needed to be worked out, but she anticipates a green light from the board.

Charter schools are public schools governed by private boards. In an attempt to reform education, the Missouri Legislature has allowed the schools to open only in St. Louis and Kansas City.

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