Unless the Legislature suspends the rules after the current legislative recess from the 2009 regular session, Mississippi’s existing charter school law will die for lack of reauthorization.
The state’s 1997 charter school law allowed for only six charter schools, and those are converted from existing public schools. Only one charter school is operating in the state – the Hayes Cooper Center in Merigold, but many consider it more of a magnet school.
Charter schools are publicly funded, but operate outside some of the rules and regulations for traditional schools. For example, charter schools’ leaders determine the length of the school day and the school year.
A growing number of Mississippians – from Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant to Democratic House Education Committee chairman Rep. Cecil Brown – support expansion of the charter school concept in the state.