Reimagining Education

Charter Schools in Missouri

A public charter school is a public school that is organized differently than traditional district public schools. A public charter school is governed by an independent school board whose only focus and responsibility is that particular school, allowing them to be hyper-responsive to the needs of students and families enrolled in them. In exchange for this independence and freedom, charter schools operate under contracts (or “charters”) that allow them to be closed or replaced for failing to reach specific academic and non-academic goals, or for failing to operate in a responsible manner.

Because they operate outside of a traditional school district, charter schools are able to adjust curriculum to meet students’ needs and give teachers the ability to try new methods to help students learn. With that flexibility to develop personalized teaching practices, student learning and results improve to help underserved students achieve at high levels.

Help more Missouri families access charter schools

Currently, only families in St. Louis City and Kansas City have the choice to send their children to a charter school.

The charter school movement has had a major impact on the educational landscape in these two areas, providing families with quality educational options and helping to spur traditional districts to improve as well.

Charter schools offer an alternative to traditional districts, supplementing not replacing existing school districts.

While the state legislature frequently considers new laws that make it possible for public charter schools to open in more areas of the state, that will only become a reality if there are enough families that want an alternative to the existing public education.

2023 bills to watch

More information about charter schools

Parents and teachers love charter schools

In 2021:

  • 60% of the top 10 KC and STl schools were charters.
  • 65% of the top Language Arts public school in KC were charter schools.
  • 60% of the top Language Arts public school in STL were charter schools.
  • 50% of the top math public school in KC and STL were charter schools.

Charter public schools are:

  • Independently operated, publicly-funded schools.
  • Tuition-free and open to ALL students.
  • Nonsectarian and do not discriminate on any basis.
  • Publicly funded by local, state and federal tax dollars based on enrollment like any other public school.
  • Held accountable for meeting state and federal academic standards.