Legislation that would authorize charter schools to operate in Columbia has been filed by a senior Missouri House member.
State Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch (R-Hallsville) tells 939 the Eagle that test scores in Columbia Public Schools (CPS) have been dropping since 2015. She’s filed the 12-page House Bill 1205, which would allow charter schools “in a school district containing a majority of a city with more than one hundred twenty-five thousand but fewer than one hundred sixty thousand inhabitants.” The only city that meets that criteria is Columbia.
“We need to give parents and students more choices. And what I have seen in my last seven years is people are flocking out of Columbia Public Schools (CPS), whether it’s private school, parochial school, homeschool or going to adjoining school districts,” Toalson Reisch says.
CPS spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark says CPS is now Missouri’s fifth-largest school district, with more than 19,0000 students. Baumstark tells 939 the Eagle that Representative Toalson Reisch’s bill “fails to consider the harm it would cause to not only the public school district and all of its students, but also the harm to the community that has invested in its public schools to maintain a vibrant community and quality opportunities for children.”
Charter schools are currently only allowed in St. Louis and Kansas City, under state law. Representative Toalson Reisch has represented some of the poorer areas of CPS.
“The buildings I represented include schools such as but not limited to Blue Ridge, Alpha Hart, Battle Elementary, Battle high (school). And this area, north, northeast Columbia is high-minority, low-income and almost all free and reduced lunch,” says Toalson Reisch.
State Rep. Dave Griffith (R-Jefferson City) says he plans to vote for the bill, at this time. Griffith co-hosted “Wake Up Mid-Missouri” this morning on 939 the Eagle.