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House Bill 1152 Charter Schools

April 12, 2012

Senate takes another swing at charter schools
The Lieutenant Governor just issued the following press release:

JACKSON – The Mississippi State Senate today approved much-needed education reform by passing legislation to allow public charter schools to operate in the state, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves announced.

The Senate amended House Bill 1152 to allow public charter schools to open in Mississippi with approval from a newly created independent commission. The bill, which passed 31-19, heads to the Mississippi House.

Public charter schools will be funded with existing dollars from the federal, state and local levels. The funds within the current Mississippi Adequate Education Program will follow a student to their school of choice.

“It’s time to change the status quo and give parents a choice in their children’s education,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “For far too long, we have had students trapped in failing districts with no options for a better education. This legislation can change that.”

Public charter schools could be allowed in any district in the state. However, the local school boards of districts rated as “star” or “high performing” by the state Department of Education also would have to give a stamp of approval to any charter school seeking to open within those top districts. The bill is similar to a plan approved by the Senate in February. However, this version allows school boards of districts rated as “successful” also to approve charter schools over the next four academic years.

Charter schools are public schools that operate under a contract that allows administrative freedom and flexibility in exchange for exceptional levels of results-driven accountability. Students attending public charter schools must comply with provisions of the Mississippi compulsory school attendance law, meet health and safety standards, and adhere to state testing model. This legislation does not require charter schools; it simply gives a community the option to support a public charter school to enter into their district.

The newly created commission will be comprised of appointees from the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and the Superintendent of Education. The commission will consider applications from charter school providers with a proven track record of success.

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