Crowd packs CEE-Trust presentation to state board of education

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Officials with Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust, also known as CEE-Trust, presented before the State Board for almost an hour and then took questions from board members in Jefferson City, Mo., on Monday, mostly about how the new system would be different from a charter school system.

More than 100 people showed up to listen to the proposal that would directly affect the Kansas City public schools. Most of the crowd was bussed in from Kansas City and part of the organization More Squared.

The proposal CEE-Trust presented is one of four proposals before the state board where they explained their one-of-a-kind proposal, a first in the nation that would create what they call "educator run schools," resulting in a breakup of the district-ran system.

School leaders would have the freedom to allocate resources, pay successful teachers more and give them control over where money goes.

"We think that educators and parents should have control, but I think it needs to be a central agency that sets the standards and gives the parameters in which these educators work," CEE-Trust CEO Ethan Gray said.

But others feel differently.

"From what I've seen, I don't think the plan is a good plan because I think the plan is basically 'charter-izing' our school district and I don't like the plan at all," Co-Chair of More Squared Rodney Williams said.

The proposal came after months of research and focus groups where teachers said they wanted more control over education and more children in pre-K. Parents also said they want more school options and successful neighborhood schools they could send their children to.

The CEE-Trust plan was specifically designed after looking at successful urban schools across the country. They mentioned several times throughout the meeting that the plan is not a charter school system and that there is still a central system that holds the school responsible.

The proposal would be implemented over a five-year period beginning in the fall of 2014. The final draft is expected next month.

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