Charter Transition Office Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What schools are being closed?
The following Imagine charter schools in St. Louis City are closed:
- Imagine Academy of Academic Success
1409 E. Linton Ave, St. Louis, MO 6310
- Imagine Academy of Cultural Arts
1509 Washington Avenue, Suite 800, St. Louis, MO 63103
- Imagine Academy of Careers Elementary
3740 Marine Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63118
- Imagine Academy of Careers Middle
1901 North Kingshighway, St. Louis, MO 63113
- Imagine College Prep High School
706 North Jefferson Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63103
- Imagine Academy of Environmental Science and Math
1008 South Spring Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110
Q: The Carondelet Leadership Academy isn’t on that list. What is happening there?
The Carondelet Leadership Academy is open under the sponsorship of the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Education.
Q: Will any Imagine Schools remain open in St. Louis?
No, the charters for all Imagine Schools in St. Louis are revoked and the schools closed on June 30, 2012.
Q: What was the process for making the decision to close these schools?
Missouri Baptist University (MBU) informed the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in March 2012 that it would no longer serve as the sponsor for charter schools in St. Louis. As a result, under Missouri law (State Statute 160.400 14), the Missouri State Board of Education became the interim sponsor of the schools.
At its April 17, 2012, meeting, the State Board of Education voted to revoke the charters for Imagine Academy of Academic Success (115-907), Imagine Academy of Careers (115-908) and Imagine Academy of Environment Science and Math (115-909). As a result, the 2011-2012 school year will be the final year for these schools, and the charter will end on June 30, 2012.
Q: Why close all of the Imagine schools in St. Louis?
The State Board of Education charter mandates that all public schools – including charter schools – are held accountable for student performance and fiscal management.
The Imagine Schools in St. Louis City have been underperforming for the past three years. They are among the lowest achieving schools in the state, scoring well below the St. Louis public school and Missouri state averages.
The oversight structure put into place by the Imagine Schools that had each school’s board report to the company instead of the company working for the board was a fundamental flaw that contributed to this problem.
The Imagine Schools have been ineffective in their use of public funds, including deficit spending and have failed to respond to frequent audit findings.
The Imagine Schools have failed to ensure compliance with federal law, especially in relation to special education.
Q: How many students are affected?
A total of 3,865 St. Louis City students will be affected by the Imagine School closures.
- Imagine Academy of Academic Success* (K-8) – 955 students
- Imagine Academy of Careers (K-12) – 1,620 students
- Imagine Academy of Environmental Science (K-8) – 1,290 students
*While the previous sponsor (Missouri Baptist University) revoked the charter for the Imagine Academy of Academic Success on December 19, 2011, the Department assures all stakeholders that this revocation will proceed under the sponsorship of the Department with a closure date of June 30, 2012.
Q: What educational options do these students have?
There is a seat for every child displaced by these closings.
The St. Louis Public Schools, which includes magnet schools and charter schools, have capacity and are making adjustments to accommodate these children and are expected to be looking at more than 3,400 student transfers. It is important to note that the management and academic performance of the St. Louis Public Schools has substantially improved since families chose the Imagine Schools.
SLPS have established 2 buildings for Imagine students.
1. Madison for grades 9-12
2. Enivornmental Science and Math for grades K-8
The other charter schools operating in St. Louis City, which is estimated to have capacity for approximately 500 additional students, also offer improved education opportunities compared with the Imagine Schools that are closing.
Q: What is being done to help these students find new schools?
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has established the Charter Transition Office in St. Louis to provide assistance to students, families, teachers and other employees. Informational letters were sent on April 17 to the families and caregivers of all Imagine Schools students providing information on transition resources available to them.
Resources include the website, a toll-free number and email address below:
Charter Transition Office
Toll-free number: 866-791-4715
Q: How will student records be obtained?
When you enroll your child in a St. Louis Public School (SLPS) or a charter school in St. Louis, your child's records will be transferred to that school. Until then, the student records will be safely and securely stored. You may request copies of your child's records if you desire.
Q: Where can families, teachers and others find more information?
Charter Transition Office
Toll-free number: 866-791-4715
St. Louis Public Schools
Phone number: 314-345-2353
Other charter options
Toll-free number: 800-455-3570
Q: Where can I call to verify I have correct information?
Call the Charter Transition Office assistance line to confirm the accuracy of information at 866-791-4715 (toll-free).
Q: Are other St. Louis charter schools at risk of closing?
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s mission is to ensure a quality public education experience for every child, whether it is a traditional public school or a charter school.