Local charter school could close down after continued low performance

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A local charter school could close its doors at the end of the school year after several years of poor performance.

The University of Central Missouri Board of Governors announced Tuesday it will not renew Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology’s charter for next school year, leaving parents scrambling for a new place for their children to learn.

Charter schools are public schools sponsored by universities. But if students don’t perform well on standardized tests, the university can decide not to renew its charter — and that’s what happened at Banneker.

The board cited falling MAP test scores since the school’s last charter renewal in 2012; a lack of student progress in language arts, math or science; and a high turnover of teachers and students.

That high turnover could be attributed to the school’s large population of high-risk students. About 320 students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade go to Banneker, and all of them are from an ethnic minority. The board said these students haven’t been getting a “quality education.”

The charter school will remain open through the rest of the school year and could find another university to sponsor its charter to stay open after that.

But if it can’t, UCM will put together a transition team to help students find new schools and teachers find new jobs.