St. Louis County (KSDK) -- Are charter schools the answer to failing schools? That's the question some are asking, not in St. Louis City, but in St. Louis County where charter schools aren't even legal -- at least not yet.
Tuesday night, the Riverview Gardens school board heard from a man who wants to open charter schools in the district. Jeff Weiner says he has a sponsor and leases ready to go to open a charter school by the fall of 2012. All he needs is lawmakers to change state law allowing for charter school outside of St. Louis City and Kansas City.
Riverview Gardens is currently unaccredited, but many in the district say they don't believe a charter school can do any better -- especially considering several charter schools were recently closed in the city for poor performance.
"We don't have any history," says Dr. Clive Coleman the Riverview Gardens Superintendent. "All I can relate to is what happened in St. Louis public schools."
Dr. Coleman adds that he is concerned charter schools will not only take students from his classrooms but the funds that come with them which he says will negatively impact the students who remain in the district.
"They feel like we're stepping on their turf," says Weiner whose organization is called Achievement Academy College Prep. "Of course we are. But we're doing it for the right reasons," says Weiner. "It is truly, reasonably and morally about children."
Achievement Academy says its non-profit status will help it succeed where other charter schools have failed.
The Missouri State legislature is currently considering a bill that would allow charter school in unaccredited districts and even in fully accredited districts if the local school boards will act as sponsors for the charter schools.
Weiner says he has plans in the works for a charter school in St. Charles County should the bill become law.