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Mo. pulls the plug on Imagine-run charter schools

(via Flickr/Lauren Manning)

Will be updated.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. with additional reporting.

Updated 2:59 p.m. with additional comment from Imagine's executive vice president.

The Missouri Board of Education voted Tuesday to close six charter schools in St. Louis run by Virginia-based Imagine Schools Incorporated.
The schools will close at the end of this school year.

Imagine's executive vice president, Jason Bryant, calls the decision disappointing and says the company is exploring its options.

The move comes after the schools’ charter, Missouri Baptist University, voluntarily gave up its sponsorship.

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education commissioner Chris Nicastro says that the schools had been underperforming academically for years.

“We believe it would be disservice to the children and run counter to the mission of the State Board of Education to ensure a quality public school education to allow underperforming and poorly managed schools to continue to operate,” Nicastro said.

Nicastro said DESE has set up a transition office in St. Louis to help parents with children at Imagine schools learn about their options for next year.

Missouri Baptist University also held the charter for Carondelet Leadership Academy.

The State Board voted today to transfer that charter to the University of Missouri-Columbia’s College of Education.

A press release from DESE provided the following information regarding educational opportunities for the 2012-2013 school year:

"Student fairs have been scheduled in April and may where parents, guardians and students can meet with representatives from the St. Louis Public Schools and MCPSA [Missouri Charter Public School Association] charter schools to learn about educational opportunities for the 2012-2013 school year. The student fairs will take place on Saturday, April 28 at Gateway Math and Science Elementary and Preparatory Schools, 1200 North Jefferson and Saturday, May 12 at South City Preparatory, 2900 South Grand Avenue. Both student fairs will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m."



Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.