State board votes unanimously to close Genesis charter school in KCMO

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 10:35 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The Missouri State Board of Education has voted unanimously to close the Genesis charter school in Kansas City.

“My first reaction was kind of shocked,” said parent Qashanda Boyles.

She and her first-grade son, Prince, fear they may not be at Genesis School much longer.

“Surprised, because this is the closest school for my son to go to,” she said. “With the Boys & Girls Club, it’s helpful for me getting off work after school hours. So, that’s very helpful to keep him busy while I’m still at work.”

The school being attached to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater KC is just one of many reasons parents have chosen for their kids to attend the charter school.

“They like the location,” said Genesis School’s Executive Director Kevin Foster. “It’s close. They like the wraparound services. They like that they get free before and after school care right here with the Boys & Girls Club. They like that it’s a small school. They like that they get to know our staff personally.”

Those within the Missouri State Board of Education believe the school needs to be shut down.

Back in January, the Charter Public School Commission voted to revoke the school’s charter. The Missouri State Board of Education confirmed that decision, citing low test scores.

Staff at the school disputed the claim, arguing Genesis scored above the state average. Then, during today’s debate, board members said many students are up to six years behind in their education at Genesis. They said that’s unacceptable.

“If this were a standard public school, we would have shut it down long ago,” said Peter Herschend of the 7th Congressional District. “We are in the business of education, caring for kids of course. But, you care for kids from an educational perspective by seeing to it they know how to read or know how to do math, whatever the subject is. This school simply has not done that.”

Foster said they keep track of the students’ academic progress.

“There is no numbers up there of kids that are six years behind,” said Foster, showing a board with student progress. “The Department of Education has lots of data. There are lots of documents that have been presented by both the Commission and us about our academic achievements.”

The board’s unanimous vote today means the charter would officially be revoked in June, forcing parents like Boyles to choose another charter or a school within Kansas City Public Schools next year.

“I’m still working that out right now,” Boyles said. “Probably find a closer school here, hopefully one with a Boys & Girls Club to keep him busy while I’m still at work.”

Foster said that, despite the board’s decision, they are seeking legal guidance to try and fight to keep the school’s doors open.