The UMKC School of Education is ending its 19-year sponsorship of Missouri charter schools effective May 31, 2019.
In 1999, UMKC took on a role as a sponsor for Missouri charter schools to give students in the Kansas City area a new option for education.
“The university has decided to transition from being in a sponsorship role focused on oversight and accountability, to a research, development and innovation role,” said UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal. “This change naturally fits with UMKC’s mission as a public urban research institution and allows us to concentrate on what we are uniquely positioned to deliver.”
UMKC served as an incubator for charter schools, helping define the important work of oversight and accountability. It oversaw school achievement, finances, governance and performance.
The eight charter schools in the university’s sponsorship portfolio are the Academy for Integrated Arts, Allen Village School, Brookside Charter School, Frontier Schools, Lee A. Tolbert Community Academy, Genesis School, Pathway Academy and University Academy.
“We are still committed to maintaining our long-standing relationship with our eight charter schools in our portfolio by working in a different way,” said UMKC Dean of Education Justin Perry.
The new role will allow the university to continue to revitalize the Urban Education Research Center and the Institute for Urban Education by taking a different approach to research in urban schools.
Dr. Doug Thaman, executive director of Missouri Public School Association, said he respects the decision UMKC made and is thankful for the work UMKC has done as one of Missouri’s first sponsors.
“Moving forward, the assistance they can provide public schools through research, teacher preparation and the teaching of best practices have the potential to significantly strengthen the important work of educating students,” said Thaman.
In a letter sent to the families of students at the Academy for Integrated Arts, the district thanked UMKC for being their sponsor.
District officials said they are excited to work with UMKC in a different capacity that still benefits the schools.
Tony Kline, superintendent and executive director of University Academy, said, “University Academy has had the privilege of being sponsored by UMKC for 19 years, during which the university has been incredibly supportive to our mission. We look forward to a new chapter in our relationship with UMKC, building on strong existing partnerships with our faculty and students alike.”
Allen Village Schools superintendent Phyllis Washington said she was shocked by the news.
“It was a devastating hit for our board and staff,” Washington said. “When my administrative team met with Dr. Perry, I thought the team was providing updates on programming and achievements. However, we were not ready for the purpose of the meeting. It was such a shocking experience that many, many questions were asked without details being provided.”
Perry acknowledged, “A decision or change of this nature will feel unsettling and shocking to some.”