Merger of KC charters denied by DESE

By Paul Thompson

Northeast News

April 26, 2016

Scuola Vita Nuova and Crossroads Academy will not be merging after all.

According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the proposed merger of the two Kansas City charter schools is not allowed by Missouri’s current charter school law. Thus, both the merger and plans for the charters to open a high school together have been scrapped.

Scuola Vita Nuova acknowledged in an April 22 newsletter that it is disappointed in the decision from DESE, adding that Crossroads Academy will still move forward with plans to open a high school in 2018. According to the newsletter, a merger between the two schSVNools would have required one to cease operations. Furthermore, SVN Principal Nicole Goodman noted that there’s currently no pending legislation in Jefferson City that would address the merger issue.

“Merging is not a part of charter law at this time. One of the schools would have to close,” said Goodman. “That was not going to be an option. We have a lot history. We’ve been around since 1999.”

As it stands, Scuola Vita Nuova assured stakeholders that it remains dedicated to providing the best K-8 education possible, and that the school will continue to support students and parents as they make their decision of which high school to attend after their time at SVN.

For now, SVN plans to push forward with a capital campaign aimed to double the size of the school. The charter currently serves one classroom for each K-8 grade level, but it hopes to add a second classroom for grades K-3 by 2018. After that, Goodman said that Scuola Vita Nuova hopes to add another classroom annually at each subsequent grade level.

“We have about 207 kids, and we want to double that so we can have two sections at every grade level,” said Goodman, who added that the charter is about to conduct a feasibility study. “We’re just in the early stages of kicking that off.”

Goodman also didn’t rule out the idea of investing in high school programming again in the future.

“Really, it’s currently a school board decision,” she said. “Who knows, maybe SVN would entertain the idea of opening our own high school.”

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