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State: 4 of 5 'Financially Stressed' Mo. Charter Schools Are In St. Louis

Flickr | alkruse24

The state says five Missouri charter schools are financially stressed.

Four of the schools are in St. Louis - Carondolet Leadership Academy, Grand Center Arts Academy, South City Preparatory Academy and Jamaa Learning Center. The fifth is Pathway Academy in Kansas City.

This is the first time the state has declared schools financially stressed under a new state law that requires more supervision of the publicly funded but independently run schools. The designation is based on ending balances in two key funds.

The ruling gives the schools 45 days to submit their 2012-2013 budgets and plans to improve their financial condition. The schools' sponsors then will make suggestions for improvements. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education can withhold financial aid if the schools fail to comply.

In other news on charter schools in St. Louis, the Associated Press reports that the closing of six charter schools in St. Louis cost $250,000.

The Missouri State Board of Education heard a report Tuesday about the shutdown of six schools run by Virginia-based Imagine Schools Inc. The schools had about 3,500 students when they were ordered to close at the end of the last school year because of academic and fiscal management problems.

The state says the business community chipped in $100,000 to help with the transition, and the state paid nearly $150,000.

State officials said Imagine's record-keeping delayed a transition team assembled to coordinate the closure and increased costs.

About 89 percent of the former Imagine students moved to St. Louis Public Schools. The district opened three schools specifically for the displaced students and hired many ex-Imagine teachers.

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