About School Types

Understanding Kansas City Charter Schools

Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that are equally open to all children who live in a geographic area. They have their own governance and operate independently of KCPS. They receive state funding and are open to all students who live in the KCPS boundaries. Many charter schools use a lottery to fill their limited number of seats.

They are accountable to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), their charter sponsors and, of course, to their children and families. In Kansas City, all charter schools are non-profit. There are no for-profit charter school operators in Kansas City.

Charter School Sponsors

In Missouri, sponsors are institutions or organizations that provide oversight to charter public schools. Each charter school has a contract (a “charter”) with a sponsor that spells out what the school will do, what it expects to achieve, how it will evaluate its success (or failure) and what the consequences are for not reaching goals. The sponsor’s job is to make sure that charter schools are complying with the law and also with their charter. The sponsor decides whether or not a school’s charter will be renewed. A school without a renewed charter will be closed.