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Issue: 1157 Date: 10/25/2012
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Three New Charter Schools To Open In St. Louis

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        (October 18, 2012) St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay announced Thursday that three new charter schools will open next fall.

        That will bring to 18 the number of schools that have gone through the screening process put in place by the mayor's office.

        The mayor says quality education is critical to keeping families in the city.

        He says this week's announcement that the St. Louis Public Schools has attained provisional accreditation won't change his push for charters.

        "It shows marked improvement and we should celebrate that and continue to work toward full accreditation for the St. Louis Public School system," Slay said. "But in the meantime parents today and children today need and want quality public education options and we have an obligation as a community to provide that to our kids."

        The new charter schools to open next year include Lafayette Preparatory Academy (K-5), EAGLE College Prep Endeavor (K-8), and Gateway Science Academy of St. Louis-South (K-12).

        Other St. Louis Charter Schools Financially Stressed

        Earlier this week the state announced four current charter schools in St. Louis are financially stressed, some of which the mayor has endorsed.

        The news came during a presentation to the State Board of Education.

        Charter school proponents at Thursdays announcement took issue with the way the information was released.

        Doug Thaman is the executive director of the Missouri Charter Public School Association.

        He says the designation was largely because the schools don't have 3 percent of their operating budgets in reserve as required by a new Missouri law.

        Thaman says the schools all opened within the last one to two years.

        "And with new charter schools it's widely known that it takes three years to build that kind of reserve," he said.

        Thaman says charter schools don't get public funds for facility expenses, which are typically higher in the first years.

        He says the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's presentation failed to give that context.

        The schools identified by the state as financially stressed include Carondolet Leadership Academy, Grand Center Arts Academy, South City Preparatory Academy, and Jamaa Learning Center.

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