Five metro-area charter schools receive high marks in new study

A new study offers promising marks for five metro-area charter schools that got their start from a donation from the Gates Foundation.

The $3 million was meant to start so-called "Star Schools" and went to a group called the Center for School Change. The center then helped fund Great River School, Minnesota North Star Academy, Augsburg Fairview Academy, Saint Paul Conservatory and Twin Cities Academy.

Director Joe Nathan said test scores weren't always high, but 96 percent of students in those high schools graduated, which is higher than Minnesota's statewide graduation rate of 92 percent.

"We also think it's encouraging that even in the schools where the test scores aren't great, they've done a really good job of getting into some form of higher education," Nathan said.

The report also suggests the five schools could potentially save money by pooling administrative tasks, like HR and payroll.

The center commissioned the study, but Nathan said an outside contractor did all the work to prevent the appearance of a conflict.

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